Archive for the ‘Bloodlust’ Category

Animal Punishment

March 30, 2013

Animal Punishment

Advertisements

First Person Shooter

November 14, 2012

In keeping pace with American imperial ambition, the video game industry has invaded foreign lands. Several years ago when Modern Warfare 2 was released a friend who follows the grisly aspects of the US war in Afghanistan told me that the game’s climactic scene was copied almost exactly from a leaked AC 130 gun-camera video (“shot-for-shot” was his dark pun). The leaked video showed the American gunship strafing dozens of Afghans on a hilltop outpost—and now in the video game version lil’ ol’ you got to pull the trigger. Like many of these games, the villains here are technically “Russians” (to be politically sensitive? lol), but players understand who is really being shot in Afghanistan. Americans seem quite eager to participate in armchair-imperial-bloodlust-snuff-film-cum-entertainment, but let’s not mix-up our adventures in Afghanistan & forget who we sub-contracted to actually fight the Soviets… oh yeah, Al-Qaeda!

So last week came the kerfuffle that at least seven members of Seal Team 6 have been disciplined by the Navy for assisting game designers of Medal of Honor: Warfighter simulate the raid that killed Al-Qaeda guru/posterboy/financier/inhouse-hack-poet Osama bin Laden. How dare they help in producing America’s premier propaganda!? They are supposed to leave that to the Navy itself! (The other irony, of course, is that modern warfare, like Modern Warfare, is already a video game: we have all read stories about military employees controlling death-delivering drones from computer consoles in Nevada. Then leaving work to pick up kids from soccer practice. BTW: Does the Pentagon provide treatment for virtual-based PTSD?)

All this came to mind this week when reading about the new EP from Kuwaiti-born musician, Fatima al-Qadiri. As she told Pitchfork’s Ruth Saxelby the EP, “Desert Strike”, is named after a video game of the same name from her childhood.

It’s named after a Sega Megadrive game from 1992, based on Operation Desert Storm from the first Gulf War in 1991…. The record is dedicated to this sci-fi period of my childhood—surviving the invasion of Kuwait, the war, and then playing a video game based on those events a year later.

Holy Shit & Dark & Unreal. The vantage of the game is American (obviously), so young Fatima would be playing as the U.S. invading her neighborhood—commanding digital helicopters as they bomb the region, steering toys of the tanks that rumbled the real highways outside her childhood windows. The surreal mixtures of experiences: first-hand and virtual. The evil twin of the bullshit we’re always carrying on about!

Screen capture from Sega’s 1992 game “Desert Strike: Return to The Gulf”. In development, the game was based on the Lebanese Civil War and titled Beirut Breakout, but the setting was changed to coincide with Desert Storm.

The original iteration of the game penalized players “if they destroyed objects that resulted in negative economic and political results”, but this feature was not popular during internal review and was scrapped. Oi.

Directives for Fatima. The previous screen informed her that “WE HAVE A LOST INTELLIGENCE AGENT IN THIS SECTOR. THIS AGENT HAS THE MADMAN’S NUCLEAR PLANS. IT’S UP TO YOU TO FIND THE LOST AGENT. BUT FIRST YOU MUST COMPLETE FOUR IMPORTANT MISSIONS…” (Note: Not written by Hans Blix.)

***

For all of you fretting that the gaming industry is woefully retrospective, fear not: the recent game Battlefield III is set in Iran. Cool foreshadowing for WWIII? Fingers crossed!

Not enough line-blurring for you? The new Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 features a cameo from man-o-th’-hour Gen. Petraeus. (Picture)

p.s. It is convenient that the leaked gunship videos (etc.) that inspire these game sequences are in a familiar format: first-person shooter. And isn’t assuming that POV the point of this entertainment/propaganda? [Related: Of the many sites that host leaked combat videos pls note that http://www.apacheclips.com brands itself “Shock & Awe Entertainment“]

Gnome

September 11, 2012

In his review of two new Noam Chomsky books, David Hawkes discusses the “Chomsky problem”—that Chomsky’s notable work in the fields of linguistics and political commentary “appear to contradict each other”. That may be the case. But the terms of Hawkes’ review seem guilty of the same charge.

Discussing Chomsky’s disdain for popular religion, Hawkes writes that Chomsky “cites the fact that ‘about 75% of the US population has a literal belief in the devil’ as the clearest possible example of American ignorance and stupidity”.

But is it really so different from his own beliefs? Throughout his career, Chomsky has depicted a world ruled by demonic forces of quite incredible malice and guile. Whatever is running the world Chomsky describes is undoubtedly a very greedy, violent and selfish entity—it would be hard not to call it “evil” or even Evil, were such tropes not sternly prohibited by the monochrome literalism of our age.

Well Said & Tru Dat. Indeed, the prevailing language of public discourse allows no room for going front spear into the Spirit World, or Mystik Tyger Danse (results guaranteed), or for the many totems that were until very recently very intelligible and for which we have found no serviceable replacements. I mean, moreso than Stephenie Meyer, wouldn’t it be more concise & accurate for the Wall Street Journal to speak of vampires?—were such tropes not sternly prohibited by the monochrome literalism of our age?

Agreed. And yet. In the next paragraph, Hawkes demeans Chomsky’s perennial characterization of the United States.

The America described here is a crazed, bloodthirsty monster, hell-bent on the destruction of humanity.

But… is it not a monster? What was the United States government in 2003 if not an eye-stung Cyclops, stomping the globe in wreckful reckless revenge, swinging wild blind limbs, crushing villages?

I mean, when the band of the same name appeared didn’t we all nod “mmhmm, yup”?

The USA is a Monster — “No More Forever”

[Brace yrself for terrible word play: If Yahweh means “I am” does it not follow that a strident atheist should be called “No am”? Chomp on that.]

Spot the Suzerain

August 31, 2012

Speaking of ugly culture! Did we hear that 2011 was a bumper crop for global arms sales? $66billion, up from the previous year’s measly $21.4billion worth of mechanized death. In fact, weapons sales to Saudi Arabia alone ($33.4billion) were greater than total global sales for the previous record year (2009, $31billion). Do these preposterous exchanges of wealth & trophy remind anyone else of ancient kings offering tribute to one another? Rare spices, a ruby pendant, and a shipment of wheat to proclaim fealty —> 84 advanced F-15 fighter jets, a bouquet of missiles.

Except that with the U.S. & the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, I can’t tell who is paying tribute to whom?! Is it a kindness of the Saudis to support our darling defense industry, or is it a kindness of the U.S. to give collectors-item death toys to a regime that doesn’t need them? Actually, it may be more like when heads of state meet and swap gifts of local significance (a violin from the Italian Ambassador, a rare wine from the French attaché). It’s just that the U.S.’s renowned, signature handicraft happens to be war instruments, of which we dedicate great efforts towards their refinement. The U.S. is like: Here is our exquisite F-15, I do hope you like it. And Saudi Arabia is like: Here are several vaults of cash, I do know how much you enjoy the stuff.

Also from the desk of Weird Empire:

Did anyone read this magniloquent jawn in the WPost about the woman who (maybe) thwarted a rogue Navy provocation of Iran and was (maybe) fired for her meddling? So many taken-for-granted shady dealings and “back-channels to rogue states”. Glad to know that when you peel back the curtain of empire, everyone involved sounds like a massive dill. Anyhow, one passage will jump out as silly self-mythologizing to anyone who has visited Egypt:

From there on, her life would seem to unfold as if it were an episode of “Alias” or “Covert Affairs.” One time, “I hired a car and driver and drove across the Sinai from Cairo to the Israeli border, with Abba [sic!] blaring on the stereo and feeling rather like Priscilla, Queen of the Desert,” she recalled. Destination: Eliat, on the Red Sea. Mission: scuba diving.

Driving from Cairo to Eilat to go diving is the equivalent of driving to the Outer Banks to go… diving. You just drive there. And maybe you play loud music along the way! She seems like someone who took to heart that corny H.S. Thompson exhortation: “Walk tall, kick ass, learn to speak Arabic, love music and never forget you come from a long line of truth seekers, lovers and warriors.” Barf. Must’ve been written during his tenure at ESPN.com.

Stay Classy, Washington Post

August 2, 2012

And who’s this ‘analyst’, Sylvester Stalone?? Da’fuck kind of mindless macho posturing is this? Not appropriate tone for international news headline!

Abstract chest-thumping about a distant civil war in which you have no stake or concern? Oh yeah, down here in the news room we like to keep our violence fantasies flippant! Hey Brian, do you want anything from Cosi, I’m gonna get an iced coffee…

Ke$ha Cole

May 15, 2012

When we last left Juan Cole scribblin’ ‘bout Napoleon in Egypt, he was in Tarantino-mode, incessantly describing “brains” being “blown out”. Now, several pages later, he’s gone beyond pulp/Pulp into blood-spray! Describing Lord Nelson’s attack on Napoleon’s flagship, The Orient:

The two ships lined up against one another by the light of their own canon flashes, and kept up the barrage…. Some time before midnight the conflagration penetrated into the ammunition magazine, blowing the proud flagship to smithereens…. Most of the Orient’s crew was rendered red mist.

Dude, you are really sexing up your mediocre academic book with speculative blood confetti! But I guess the incongruent gore-fanboy imagery makes sense, given the literary background mentioned in yr muy embarazoso online bio:

In 1973, Juan gifted his extensive comic book collection to the university library and it became the core of an important popular culture collection. At several points in his life, Juan has felt the need to abandon some attachment and reinvent himself, to undergo what his friends at college jokingly called ego death and rebirth.

LuLz. For someone whose friends are always ribbing him about ego death, Juan sure has the ego-trippinest blog bio I’ve ever seen, currently at 10,000+ words!!!

The alternative explanation for Juan’s imagery is, of course, found in the video for Ke$ha’s “Take It Off”, in which rag-tag party animaux invading a desert motel are rendered into mist [beginning at 1:55], set to a faux-Oriental melody. Obviously a heavy-handed allusion to Napoleon’s troops pillaging desert villages. Of course, we should not be surprised by Ke$ha dipping her fondue skewer into the academic chocolate fountain. According to this recent record review, Ke$ha apparently rolls deep to tween celebrity jamborees in the Hamptons with Frederic Jameson as arm candy(?!?!?!). Asked about her date, Ke$ha replied: “F is amazing. I’ll be, like, complaining about my music video director, and he’ll just put everything in perspective by being like, ‘The end of the bourgeois ego, or monad, no doubt brings with it the end of the psychopathologies of that ego– what I have been calling the waning of affect. But it means the end of much more– the end, for example, of style, in the sense of the unique and the personal, the end of the distinctive individual brush stroke (as symbolized by the emergent primacy of mechanical reproduction),’ or something, and he’s right.” Nice extemporaneous riffing, Ke$h!

After a night with Jameson surely she “brushes her teeth with a bottle of Jack”. See my forthcoming essay “Whiskey Allusions As Flirtation in the Oeuvre of Ke$ha: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism”.

don’t much care for our in-house mercenary overlords

October 29, 2011

Lockheed Martin, by their own admission, is run by a cabal of satanic zombies. The below picture (untampered!) of top executives appeared in the corporation’s 2009 Annual Report. Ahh! Just look at those bloodless motherfuckers!

Like all real monsters, these ghouls try relentlessly to break into my house (through the radio).

Every morning I am subjected to Lockheed Martins’ slogan, slavishly read by NPR announcers:

Lockheed Martin: We never forget who we’re working for

And… umm… who exactly is that? The highest bidder? Pakistan, Israel, Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Chile, or any other of your dozen-plus foreign government warfare? Maybe the United Arab Emirates, to whom you leaked classified information and tried to arrange illegal arms sales? Or maybe you mean the American government, the source of 80% of your revenue? But that’d be a little weird considering you’ve been convicted of fraud by the federal government in each of the last three years and rank #1 in the Federal Contractor Misconduct Database with 57 legal violations since 1995 and nearly $600m in fines. So maybe you just mean the American people more generally. That’d make some sense. After all, as the largest ‘defense’ contractor in the world and hyper-siphon of public moneys, Americans essentially pay an annual Lockheed Martin Tax. Dag, in 2009 alone you received upwards of $125 for every man, woman, and transgender baby in the Union.

And as war profiteers/mongers, it’s very cute of your marketing department to devise a slogan that incorporates never forget. I bet you do hope we never forget! The Globo War On Terror has been an un-small boon for biz. Snap, since 9/11 shares of your stock have nearly quadrupled in price! Congrats, you’re making a killing! I hate you!

I’m just saying, I reserve a special Fuck You for Lockheed Martin. I rank my personal Lockheed Martin Fuck You above even my Goldman Sachs Fuck You—I mean, shit, Lockheed Martin got bailed out too.

But anyway! this is old news! I only bring up this dirty [blood-stained] laundry because of some ripe bullshit I And I heard on the Kojo Nnamdi Show yesterday. Apparently, the Montgomery County Council passed a non-binding peace resolution that mildly suggests the federal gov’t should reassess its spending priorities in this Era of Austerity; that our nation would be better served by investing less in war and more in education & health & infrastructure. VERY KONTROVERSIAL, I KNOW!

But Lockheed Martin no likey! They dispatched their $10m/year lobby team to dress down the peacenik council! And there is talk of Lockheed leaving Maryland altogether if Marylanders are going to be so unhelpful to the war cause! Waaaah! The Chair of the County Council sympathized with his bros at Lockheed and warned the Council against passing the resolution, stating that it is “a dagger pointed directly at the heart of Montgomery County”. Sweet murder imagery, you tool! And I like how weapons manufacturing is “at the heart” of Montgomery County… I told you these dudes openly admit to being satanic zombies.

Grim Peeper

October 26, 2011

Leontius, the son of Aglaion, was coming up from the Piraeus, close to the outer side of the north wall, when he saw some dead bodies lying near the executioner and he felt a desire to look at them, and at the same time felt disgust at the thought, and tried to turn aside. For some time he fought with himself and put his hand over his eyes, but in the end the desire got the better of him, and opening his eyes wide with his fingers he ran forward to the bodies, saying, “There you are, curse you, have your fill of the lovely spectacle!”

Plato, Republic, Book IV

.

Number of the ten most popular prime-time television dramas that regularly feature corpses: 8

Harper’s, March 2011

.

Everybody Loves Raymond Looking Qaddafi’s Slain Corpse! True, prime-time drama gives us a good sample-spoon of necro-gawking, but on special occasions we get the real thing! Sci-fi distopianists/CNN have long promised us live war & death as entertainment, but it’s hardly as regular or often as we might like. But what a feast for the eyes we’ve had lately in Libya! And where’s his body now?? In the industrial fridge?? In the desert!! I hope bedouins don’t exhume his shallow grave because they’re only likely to have lo-res cell phone video capability, which is good for that authentic snuff film vibe, but the blood hues and depth-of-field for deep gashes are well nigh of satisfactory.

I swear, if it weren’t for all the iPads lying around, I might think the 21st Century wasn’t too modern. Hunting down Arab kings and killing them like village dogs? Am I reading all this on a boastful parchment scroll brought back from Antioch in the Lord’s Year 1245? Are we bringing back desiccated heads from battle and hoisting them on pikes in the town square? I’m glad that the New York Times has found its calling in the digital age! The more things change, the worse they get! It’s also cool how the hard-learned lessons/rationale of the international tribunals at Nuremburg or Tokyo or The Hague are not even garbled side-chatter in the national conversation… forget we ever learned 1 thing about transitional justice/salvaging an teensy slice of humanity from carnage… everybody just do that right-dark urge!

How quaint a disposition, that young Leontius! How passé to be conflicted about staring at the gory result of public executions. Don’t worry, history won’t frown on your grim-grave voyeurism. In a few short centuries the Romans will spread gladiatorial arenas about the realm and institutionalize blood-sport death-entertainment. In Libya even? You bet! Shit, about a hundred miles from modern-day Sirte they built a massive arena at Leptis Magna where archaeologists recently uncovered an huge mosaic depicting a gladiator “resting in a state of fatigue and staring at his slain opponent.” Like Pee-Wee said: Take a picture [make a mosaic], it’ll last longer. This gazing-at-gazing-at-corpse art—esteemed by scholars as one of the finest examples of representational mosaics extant and a “masterpiece comparable in quality with the Alexander Mosaic in Pompeii”—originally graced the walls of a dang swimming pool at a Roman villa. Ah yes, spare no expense to capture in portrait the unfortunates of mortal combat… an glorious ting to ogle whilst splish-splash chillaxin in my roman play-tub.

Joyce Carol Oates, an aficionado of face-punching, wrote in On Boxing (1987) that the allure of the brutal contest is the dramatic arc of the fight and, ultimately, the satisfaction of “a final and incontestable judgment”. The spectators enjoy vicariously the struggle and share in the triumph. And when this spectacle is geo-political we all get to play at Empire and share in the kill, the final judgment. Now, as with the ancient arena, once the opponent “lay prone on the sands, everyone regardless of status or age could indulge in a short-lived group fantasy of being a dominus, a master, with the power to grant life or death.”

And what better way to play empire than dress-up?! This Halloween, go gung-ho for country and show the whole neighborhood that you, too, have internalized the sociopathic ideals of constant global warfare and that you are on trend with Arabphobia.

.

Oh yeah, we got him! And now that the death-image trophy is beamed real-time to all our glowing screens we can recline & glib-smug-chuckle at the distant death of our imperial villains.

The satisfaction of “a final and incontestable judgment” indeed!

I like how the Late Night Show, which has nothing to say on any weighty matter, weighs in on the metaphysical terrain of HELL. Y’know, our show doesn’t have any religious affiliation, and we don’t really condemn or endorse anything of consequence, but from time to time we like to venture a lil’ divine judgement on the passage of souls in the afterlife. In jest of course.

It gives the show real backbone! We are not wishy-washy; we take absolute stands on matters of moral gravity! Reminds me of how the Washington Post editorial board recently took a bold, courageous stand against the inscription on the MLK memorial you’ve got his meaning all wrong! — while never pecking one lonesome keystroke for anything resembling MLK’s message. This, of course, the same editorial board that championed the Iraq War with red spirals in their eye(s). e.g. See Section A1 for our coverage on Fuck Peace; See the Style Section for our beloved annual contest Fuck Peeps.

LET’S BE HONEST WITH OURSELVES AND JUST BLOW UP THE WORLD. WITH A MIRROR AFFIXED TO THE MOON SO WE CAN HAVE ONE LAST FRONT ROW SEAT FOR DEATH!

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Should have better known

October 19, 2011

You know that sinking feeling you had during the big bank bailouts when you realized that the public rescue packages came with no strings attached? You know, that moment when the banks were panicked & desperate and the government had the golden opportunity to say, “if you want this money, it comes with serious reforms”? But instead, nothing was done and we let them dust off, regain their footing, and now they’re back 2 dem kool old wayz… almost as if no one learned anything! The expression of frustration that always comes to mind is: we had them on the mat.

I think a lot of Egyptians had a similar feeling in the months after Mubarak fell, when the remnants of the old regime were disoriented and defeated. “Now is the time to change the old institutions,” an activist told me. “But I see nothing happening.” The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) had the chance to fundamentally re-shape the country’s security sector—that monstrous body that propped up the old regime—but it wavered and did nothing, for whatever reason.

Now after the sinister attack on Christian demonstrators this month at Maspero in downtown Cairo I wonder if even SCAF itself is beginning to regret letting the old, corrupt security apparatus up from the mat? Yasmine El Rashid’s new piece at NYRB suggests some of the culprits behind this recent massacre in Cairo:

Then there is the matter of paid thugs who seem to have taken part. Official government memos obtained by local newspapers in recent weeks indicate that there is a network of some 165,000 thugs who worked for the State Security apparatus and who have been used by agents of the former regime in various assaults over the past six months. Within army ranks, it is believed that destabilizing SCAF itself may be one of their targets; a plot orchestrated from within the existent and underground remnants of Mubarak’s security apparatus. Indeed, amid the violence of Maspero, plainclothes state security agents and thugs seemed to have played more of a part then the soldiers themselves as the night wore on.

What is it they say happens when you make dealz w/ the devil?

RHETORIKAL KWESTION

Heartbreak Hotel

September 12, 2011

Blass From The Past: This Old Chestnut

May 20, 2011

Seems as good a time as any to revisit this little gem. BTW, should we talk about celebrating death now, or later? When do we get to talk about how stupid the idea of “countries” is? Can we talk about “who” deserves “what”??

Clarification! Retraction!

March 1, 2011

When I suggested in an earlier post that some capable military should destroy the Libyan Air Force, this was in the context of Qaddafi attacking his own people with fighter jets. At the time it seemed like there might be an extended campaign of murdering protesters with F-16s—and it seemed like this should be stopped!

But now that U.S. ships are closing in on Libya and neo-cons are dusting off the old dream, I TAKE EVERYTHING BACK! I mean, I know that the American leadership has proven it has stellar insight into the political dynamics of the region and the two ongoing foreign wars have been executed with glistening wisdom, but… [And I recognize that such an intervention is founded on bold virtue, seeing as how international condemnation gained momentum as it became clear that Qaddafi was through. (Oh shit, someone else might control those maxi oil fields! We better arrange proper introductions!)]

Also, can we get back to basics on this one: The top four European countries who lobbied to end the ban on arms sales to Libya in 2004—France, Germany, UK, Italy—were the same countries that became the top exporters of weapons to Qaddafi.

Also, one for the blooper reel:

“The [Obama] administration has submitted a proposed budget for fiscal 2011 that included military assistance increases for Bahrain, Libya, Morocco, Oman and Yemen. Officials said several Middle East countries also received forward funding over the last year as part of the Foreign Military Financing program.”

 

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.

Princess Mononoke: A Highlight

March 26, 2010

VOID

February 24, 2010

Joy Division

February 11, 2010

Two former employees of Blackwater Worldwide have accused the private security company of defrauding the government for years by filing bogus receipts, double billing for the same services and charging government agencies for strippers and prostitutes, according to court documents unsealed this week. 

[One of the former employees involved in the lawsuit] also asserts that a Filipino prostitute in Afghanistan was put on the Blackwater payroll under the “Morale Welfare Recreation” category, and that the company had billed the prostitute’s plane tickets and monthly salary to the government.

Xe

Glassed

February 5, 2010

NYT’s been doggin’ our mates ‘cross the pond re: their filthy drinking habits in a couple of articles recently – Quote from a bartender in an AP story they ran about shatterproof pint glasses:

”One time there was a big fight and 50 pints were smashed in one minute,” she said. ”One man smashed a glass over another one’s head. One person’s eye was popping out. It was a bloodbath. There was glass raining. People were hiding behind the counter.”

That’s what they call taking the piss, n’est-ce pas? Entertain the notion of a droll plebe, M. Journalist!

I did enjoy an earlier article about the “scourge” of neds gettin’ loose on Buckfast Tonic Wine. It sounds like an exquisite beverage that I need.

The scourge in action :

Human > Dog > Pig

August 19, 2009

Remember when everyone got mad at me for asking why meat-eaters could be so upset about the Michael Vick dog-fighting mess? Well, two professional writers have the same stupid debate in today’s newspaper; not very interesting, except for this value judgment:

At the same time, though, I’m a [sic] unapologetic species-ist: I reject Peter Singer and all his works, I think that the value of animal lives is contingent and the value of human lives absolute, and I would leave a thousand pigs to die in conditions of absolute misery to save a single human infant.

What a bold hypothetical! One thousand pigs? Are you sure? I would say that a single human infant is only worth 100 tortured pigs.