December 29, 2011

Rightlessness Creep

Ok, we need a better term. The basic idea is, the fundamental rights recognized by the Founding Fathers, such as the right not to be killed without due process of law, belong to ALL people, not just US citizens; and that when we acquiesce in violations of that right of others, we should expect soon to suffer the same ourselves.

Per WaPo,

[N]o president has ever relied so extensively on the secret killing of individuals to advance the nation’s security goals. . . . CIA and military strikes this fall killed three U.S. citizens . . . . It is a measure of the extent to which the drone campaign has become an awkward open secret in Washington that even those inclined to express misgivings can only allude to a program that, officially, they are not allowed to discuss. . . . Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence, described the program with a mixture of awe and concern. Its expansion under Obama was almost inevitable, she said, because of the technology’s growing sophistication. But the pace of its development, she said, makes it hard to predict how it might come to be used.
(More at the link.) A.k.a. "extrajudicial killings" – a fancy name for murder.

December 25, 2011

The Wedding Project

You may have seen an earlier post in which I warned I'd be on hiatius for while in order to work on a big project.

Well, Phase 1 of The Wedding Project was a participatory/performance/screenings event, in which a real wedding occurred (my own).

I made two one-hour videos for the project, one for guests to watch and the other to be projected onto their backs, and I and my sig. other and 80+ friends made or scavenged costumes, props (including 200 wedding veils and more than 650 flat paper flowers) and set decor (including thousands of yards of used videotape), shot lots of video and photos of the event, and threw a big party.

I'm interested in, among other things, the blending of the real and the artificial. In this project, a real marriage between two individuals serves as a metaphor to explore larger historical, sociological, psychological, epistemological, and metaphysical contexts – including the bond that, for better or worse, has in some sense always existed among all of humanity but that now, by virtue of the internet, is becoming much more intense, or at least more quickly and thickly interconnected.

There's a website for the project with a lot more info here, and I've just put some photos of the event here.

I'm now engaged in Phase 2, which means editing the video shot at the event and otherwise mashing up product for an exhibition.

So I'm afraid I need to make myself sparse here again for the next month or two. Thank you for your patience!

December 24, 2011

The Eurozone Crisis

. . . is not about market "discipline," according to Dean Baker:

The people who gave us the eurozone crisis are working around the clock to redefine it in order to profit politically. Their editorials – run as news stories in media outlets everywhere – claim that the euro crisis is a story of profligate governments being reined in by the bond market. This is what is known in economics as a "lie". The eurozone crisis is most definitely not a story of countries with out of control spending getting their comeuppance in the bond market. Prior to the economic collapse in 2008, the only country that had a serious deficit problem was Greece. In the other countries now having trouble financing their debt, the debt to GDP ratio was stable or falling prior; Spain and Ireland were actually running budget surpluses and had debt to GDP ratios that were among the lowest in the OECD. . . . The crisis changed everything. It threw the whole continent into severe recession. This had the effect of causing deficits to explode, since tax revenues plummet when the economy contracts and payments for unemployment benefits and other transfer programmes soar. . . .

* * * * *
People should recognize this process for what it is: class war. The wealthy are using their control of the ECB to dismantle welfare state protections that enjoy enormous public support. This applies not only to government programs like public pensions and healthcare, but also to labour market regulations that protect workers against dismissal without cause. And of course, the longstanding foes of Social Security and Medicare in the US are anxious to twist the facts to use the eurozone crisis to help their class war agenda here. The claim that the countries in Europe are just coming to grips with the reality of modern financial markets is covering up for the class war being waged on workers across the globe. The assertion that this crisis is about market discipline should not appear in a serious newspaper, except on the right side of the opinion page.
More at Al Jazeera. (Dean Baker was among the first observers to identify a US housing bubble in 2002. He was a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and worked as a consultant for the World Bank and the Joint Economic Committee of the US Congress, and authored weekly commentaries for the NYT and WaPo.)

UPDATE: Other recent headlines of economic interest:

The Four Companies that Control the 147 Companies that Own Everything (re- the 147 cos., see here).

Iceland is Our Modern Utopia (rejecting a bailout for their banks, the citizens of Iceland took control of their now-resurgent economy).

Germany Builds 2X the Cars & Pays Workers 2X the Wages

Evidence of Market Manipulation in the Financial Crisis

Is Bank of America Holding the US Hostage? (referring to the fact that BoA just moved its derivatives business into its FDIC (i.e. taxpayer) -insured depositary).

Too Big to Stop: Why Big Banks Keep Getting Away with Breaking the Law (the industry has captured the regulators, so the fines are too small to deter).

Love is . . .

Note that one tends to attribute the lead to the tallest, front-center guy; he's got the best, most robotic look.

"All the Other Kids"

A parody; but I'm pretending it just augments the original, 'cuz I think together they constitute more, better:

Johnie on xbox live
fending off the newbs as he's claimin 'bout a screw.
What's missing from this awesome jive?
is the fact the girl's someone that he never really knew.
He tries to be tough in school
but really he crawls home... as he's crying in his drool.
He calls himself impressive guy
when he dresses like his sister and his ego is a lie.

[Chorus x2:]
All you other kids know that you suck (censored), you better run better run.....cause you are done!
All you other kids know that you suck (censored), you better run better run.....back home to your mother!

Out came these two guys
with their pants to their knees like their begging for a breeze.
They don't seem that shy
when in prison it means that they are looking for guy.
While facing probation
they spend their time tagging on a police station.
They think their so cool
when their half way retarded and their nothing but a tool.

[Chorus x2:]
All you other kids know that you suck (censored), you better run better run.....cause you are done!
All you other kids know that you suck (censored), you better run better run.....back home to your mother!
"Original" lyrics (quote marks to be read advisably):
Robert's got a quick hand.
He'll look around the room, he wont tell you his plan.
He's got a rolled cigarette.
Hanging out his mouth, he's a cowboy kid.
Yeah! He found a six-shooter gun.
In his dad's closet, in the box of fun things,
I don't even know what.
But he's coming for you, yeah! He's coming for you!

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, faster than my bullet.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, faster than my bullet.

Daddy works a long day.
He be coming home late, and he's coming home late.
And he's bringing me a surprise.
'Cause dinner's in the kitchen and it's packed in ice.
I've waited for a long time.
Yeah the sleight of my hand is now a quick-pull trigger.
I reason with my cigarette,
Then say, "Your hair's on fire, you must have lost your wits, yeah?"

All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, faster than my bullet.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, outrun my gun.
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, faster than my bullet.
(Run, Run, Run, Run. Run, Run. R-Run, Run, Run. R-Run. R-Run, Run, Run. R-Run. Run, Run. Run, Run. Run, Run, Run.)
All the other kids with the pumped up kicks, you better run, better run, outrun my gun.

December 23, 2011

Report #3 from P.2: A "Pearl" Greater than the Sum of its Parts

Another of my favorite components of P.2 New Orleans was the satellite show curated by John Otte, "Constant Abrasive Irritation Produces the Pearl: A Disease of the Oyster" - Lenny Bruce.

The setting for the show is The Pearl, a residence-speakeasy-restaurant-exhibition space further described by Eric Bookhardt at The Gambit as "a 200-year-old farm house posing as a nondescript Bywater residence. It has served as a private salon and performance hall for owner Jay Poggi (aka MC Trachiotomy) and his friends for more than 20 years . . . . "

Otte found The Pearl packed with what looks like the most intriguing detritus from numerous lifetimes. He decided to work with the existing stuff, rather than against it; the results are magical. As he writes in his curatorial statement, "[s]culptures and two-dimensional works are strategically placed to interact with already existing assemblages and vignettes. . . . Videos are ceiling-mounted, wall-mounted, projected, and embedded throughout the space in a nod to the vast proliferation of tv screens and video projections currently found in many public spaces . . . . "

The show includes work by AdrinAdrina & Elliott Coon, Jonathan Bouknight, Susannah Bridges Burley w/ Katie Tabor, John Curry, Dawn DeDeaux, Lee Deigaard, Courtney Egan, Margaret Evangeline, Fereydoon Family, Jessica Goldfinch, Dave Greber, Brian Guidry, Sally Heller, Ingridmwangiroberthutter, Kathleen Loe, Aristides Logothetis, Jennifer Odem, John Otte w/ Jeff Dahlgren, Anastasia Pelias, Kim Phillips, Michele Schuff, Gary Stephan, Paige Valente, and Delona Wardlaw.

The work is highly eclectic; hence, at least in part, the show's title, which might apply to any "pearls" of art resulting from social or other disturbances, or to any art that seeks to disturb.

While most of the disturbances in the show merit attention on their own, I realized there were a few I might normally have felt less than thrilled with (for reasons having to do with, among other things, how some video art doesn't seem to exploit the medium's potential sufficiently to justify the kind of sustained attention the medium tends to demand from viewers [which, as a video art maker, I find frustrating insofar as it turns people off to the medium]) – but as installed, most of the pieces were thrilling; and nearly all benefit from their encystment among objects that, old and odd as they were, made the "art" more luminous.

By thoughtfully utilizing Poggi's curated detritus (which itself draws from the output of numerous intentional and perhaps unintentional artists), Otte's taken curation-as-art-practice to the next level.

(I enjoyed using my secret weapon {camera flash} to unveil some of the mysteries supporting Otte's construct; and confirmed that The Pearl's contents emulate the larger world's in that, the more you see, the greater the mystery as well as the meaning. But they were extra-fun to discover, via the occasion provided by the videos and by overcoming the darkness required to show them.)

I sent Otte some questions and have incorporated his answers about particular works into an online gallery of visuals from the show, here, and below are his answers to a couple of more general questions:

C: Some of the pieces seemed to me greatly enhanced by their physical locations and contextual elements, e.g. Susannah Bridges Burley's, Brian Guidry's, and Dave Greber's (in a building entrance, on the floor). I'd be curious to know which if any of those aspects they'd include if the work were shown in a completely different setting.

Otte: You would have to ask the artists that question. It would be great to know what they retain from this show, and end up using from this experience. I suspect many will continue to show these and similar pieces in the future as discreet autonomous pieces.

Most of Dave Greber's videos employ wonderfully heavy frames that relate to paintings as well as windows. I originally cut out a plywood "window" frame for Dave's piece: Join Us Today as it was initially shown on a very nice Samsung 24" flat screen tv. In fact, it was first displayed lying in a nearby wood pile. However, the concentrated humidity in the air of New Orleans and the horizontal positioning ended up destroying the flat screen tv after about a month's time. I had an understanding with Dave that the piece would probably change form during the course of the show due to its precarious installation. I also let him know that I would immediately inform him of any necessary changes, and get his O.K. before proceeding with the changes. And, I can tell you that with each artist, I carefully considered a multitude of aspects with regard to content and context as well as micro and macro scales. I am constantly considering the meanings that result from various placements and media arrangements. In fact, that's a major driver behind this exhibition. I feel that the white-walled detached gallery/museum experience seems so played-out at this point. I believe that 21st Century viewers require many other things to inform our experience of art these days. Very few artworks have any resonance for me when isolated from everything else. Let's take the Renaissance for example - just think of the massive artistic egos of those such as Michelangelo and Raphael. Yet, they were (seemingly) enthralled by the chance to include their own masterpieces among the art, architecture and music of countless other artists, artisans, musicians and architects. Regardless, that was just the way things were done then.

I certainly believe the element of sound plays a crucial role here, especially in the interaction among the works of Brian Guidry, Dave Greber and Anastasia Pelias - they all have interpenetrating soundtracks which add up to one grand composition according to my aural perception. It is also exciting to visually apprehend various combinations of the videos from different vantage points.

C: I get the idea of art resulting from and functioning as an irritant in the oyster of life, and these works generally seem to question important aspects of the way society operates; but there are arguable exceptions, such as Courtney Egan's or Dawn DeDeaux's pieces, and the work otherwise seemed pretty eclectic. I'd be interested if you could share any further thoughts about how and why you selected the works included.

Otte: On one hand, the artworks are the 'pearls' that I've extracted from the oyster (the world). On the other hand, they are like punctuation marks in the larger composition of The Pearl - they serve as contrast elements to the rest of the space, images and accretions of objects.

I was directed to a number of the artists by Anastasia Pelias, who seemed to have a very good idea about what I wanted to do as a curator, and who ultimately turned out to be a very reliable source for me. In the end, I had to really ride the dynamics of the system already extant at The Pearl. The Pearl suggested so many possibilities and offered so many opportunities for a wide spectrum of visual and aural experiences that I knew I wanted only to add to the mix rather than take away from it too much. Well, mostly . . . I found that simply clearing paths for viewers to get from one place to another really seemed to help a lot. And, the act of "carving away" some of the chaotic messes only seemed to enhance other chaotic messes! Before installing the show, I spent a lot of time in the backyard pruning and 'defining' the plants, deciding which outgrowths to keep and which to get rid of. Sometimes it was really hard to decide which sets of weeds were interesting and which were not. When this difficulty persisted, I simply left them alone.

The decision to work primarily with video offered the opportunity for as much life as possible to continue on unabated at The Pearl. The videos, as much as possible, stay out of the way - not entirely, but a lot of the time. Of course, all of this technology is so precarious and vulnerable and dependent upon electricity. And, by the way, I must admit my indebtedness to technology - I am also a DJ. So, I'm often confronted with the question: what happens when the power goes out? Well, the answer is I'm TOTALLY F*CKED with all this dependency on technology! I absolutely admire the emphasis in this town of singing and playing and doing things with non-electric instruments and whatever's at hand. I love the use of candles, etc. I love oil paint and marble. I love it all, really. I just feel the need to constantly recognize the precariousness of all life at the dawn of this New Millennium, and especially with regard to this show. Call it a 'diseased' state if you will. Yet, in the end, it's probably no more diseased than at any other period.

Finally, I would have to say that I am most proud of the fact that this sprawling amorphous exhibition is just so . . . expansive. It is a spectrum of experiences, leading one down many different paths and potential paths only to turn back on itself. Many aspects of this exhibition are so stupid (in my mind) and silly beyond comprehension. I really feel this way. In fact, I must include my own stupidity in so much of it. In my opinion, only a few (and certainly not my) pieces contain moments of 'High Art' brilliance, and everything else is somewhere caught in between. But, that's really the point of this show. It's all stuff that's potentially interesting . . . and not. It's like a great big wonderful party where lots and lots of people are invited. Everyone's babbling away, but only some have 'important' things to say. Yet, who knows? What's important, in the end, can only be decided individually. I guess you had to be there . . .
[* substituted by moi.]

As for substantive themes in evidence at The Pearl and elsewhere in P.2, artists seemed concerned with issues having to do with social and economic justice, the corporatization of humanity and humanization of corporations, the power of p.r., social systems and interactions, the environment and our seemingly attenuating relationship to it, and our place in an ever-expanding universe, among other things.

Explorations of time, history, and real and virtual space were also much in view.

I was struck in particular by the prevalence in P.2 video of images of the ebb and flow of wind and water, and leaves' wavery shadows or reflections in water or elsewhere, e.g. in works by Dawn Dedeaux, Otte & Dahlgren, Jonas Dahlberg (see visuals starting here) and Pawel Wojtasik (see visuals starting here).

Of course, the water thing certainly makes sense in the wake (pardon the multiple pun) of Katrina; but I commented last year on the prevalence of the same motifs among NYFF "Avant Garde" films. By the fourth time you see it, it starts to feel clichéd; by the eighth, you're wondering about collective compulsion (by which I mainly mean that artists may as usual be being among the first to recognize that we're about ready to do some important work on something).

These videos are of course about various things, and perhaps it's a bit of a leap, but esp. in the context of other elements present in the works, the waving, bobbing imagery seems suggestive to me of such aspects of time and history as rhythm, periodicity, tides, drift, wavelength, arc length, etc., and perhaps even a sort of fractal view of time – video is, after all, esp. amenable to the exploration of issues relating to time.

Back in 2008, I tried unsuccessfully to talk my co-curators of The Program into considering a focus on time and/or history, which seemed to me prevalent concerns in work we'd seen.

My thoughts on the subject remain far from fully-formed – hey, ditto physicists' – but why wouldn't we be collectively obsessed with time? Among other accelerating developments, technology has increased our power over time a thousand-fold – while further enslaving us to the project of mastering it – and now holds out the prospect of virtual immortality. Why wouldn't we be obsessed both with our histories and the systems through which they're preserved or re-written, as we hurtle into the future carrying individual and collective pasts at once exploding in volume yet evidenced by physical relics that remain fragile and by virtual archives ever more easily deleted or revised with a few keystrokes?

This is the third of three reports from Prospect.2 New Orleans; for the others, click on the "Prospect.2" label below this post. Prospect.2 runs through January 29, with the exhibition at The Pearl open on Saturdays and Sundays only, from 5 - 9pm, at 639 Desire.

Below is a video by Susannah Bridges Burley about the show at The Pearl:

December 20, 2011

happy happy

(Photo by ?; gif-ized by moi.)

December 19, 2011

Holiday Shopping

. . . within my range, at Click Mort: "I see my work as nothing more than reconfiguring two useless pieces of cultural debris into one piece of useless cultural debris." (Thanks, Ben!)

UPDATE: I just realized, Click Mort's work is included in the Divine exhibition at the Webb Gallery in Waxahachie, TX, through Feb. 5.

December 18, 2011

Occupying the Golden Calf

From Raw Story:

WASHINGTON — About 20 “Occupy DC” protesters took their anti-corporate demonstration to the corridors of the US Congress, toting a “golden calf” made from papier-mache to symbolize lawmakers’ subservience to moneyed interests.

The protest, said the group’s leader Jeremy John, aimed to call attention to the “the worship of money,” by the US legislature.
The second photo is from dixiegrrrrl, who says, " . . . the first thing the [NYC] cops did was protect this:")

Yesterday, 50 OWS-er's were arrested in Manhattan as they attempted to occupy land owned by Trinity Church (

One of those arrested, who happens to be bishop in the church, noted, "[t]his is a church, not a corporation. They own one-third of the property south of Canal Street" (YouTube). Another protester explained, "[w]e're just trying to say that this country has gone in the wrong direction, and we need spaces that we can control and can decide our future in, and that's what this is about" (CBS).

More on yesterday's events here.

December 16, 2011

Report #2 from P.2: DeDeaux, CAC, Calle, NOMA, O'Grady, the Old Mint, & Wojtasik

As in Prospect.1, the works included in Prospect.2 were scattered among venues all over New Orleans, this time some 20 of them.

And as in P.1, the work was first-rate. There was substantially less of it this time (but still far more than I could see in three days, although I found the amount of empty space at the CAC rather striking); and what there was seemed heavily weighted toward U.S.-based and esp. local artists – presumably mainly because of the reported financial difficulties.

That said, some of my favorite works were made by New Orleans-based artists.

I especially enjoyed: (1) the Music Box (see my previous post here); (2) the exhibition organized by John Otte at The Pearl (more on that soon); (3) Dawn DeDeaux's The Goddess Fortuna and Her Dunces in an Effort to Make Sense of It All (2011) (see visuals starting here), based on John Kennedy Toole's A Confederacy of Dunces and located in and around one of the French Quarter's oldest courtyard mansions; (4) Jonas Dahlberg's single-channel video, Macbeth (2010) (see here and visuals starting here; according to a 2011 source, Dahlberg makes his work using architectural models; I found it impossible to tell if that were the case in this piece); and (5) the documentation of Lorraine O'Grady's 1983 relational performance (yeah, it's been going on at least that long), Art Is . . . .

The first photo in this post captures a moment in O'Grady's performance (courtesy of Alexander Gray Associates, New York, NY). It's somewhat misleading, in that, as I understand, the performers were mostly using the golden frames to make the onlookers into "art," not just themselves. There was also a big parade float with a giant golden frame, which made art out of large chunks of the whole scene.

The second photo shows William Eggleston's Untitled (From The Seventies: Volume Two), circa 1970's (courtesy Cheim & Read, New York) (more visuals of Eggleston's works in the biennial start here).

The third shows Paweł Wojtasik's Below Sea Level (Uncle Lionel Batiste and Benny Jones in Front of Benny’s FEMA Trailer) (2009-2011) (image from the biennial press kit); the photo relates to a ca. 360º-surround installation by the artist showing various scenes from contemporary New Orleans (see visuals starting here).

More pics and vidis of works by various artists here (including some from Good Children Gallery – I'm not sure this show was officially part of P.2, but it included works by several P.2 artists).

I unfortunately could not be in New Orleans to see performances by two of my favorite new media artists, William Pope.L (see also my post here) and R. Luke DeBois (see also my post here). And although the truck used in William Pope.L's performance was still on exhibit, disappointingly, the "magic lantern" slide show that was supposed to take up its back panel wasn't working. You can find video interviews with Pope.L and DuBois about their projects at

As you might expect, I found the video art most exciting. There was a fair amount, and I liked a lot of it; but I expect to include more discussion of the video art in a forthcoming post on the exhibition at The Pearl.

Prospect.2 runs through January 29. The hours, generally, are Wed. - Sun., 11am - 4pm.

This is the second of three reports from Prospect.2 New Orleans; for the others, click on the "Prospect.2" label below this post.

UPDATE: If you clicked through my visuals at the link above, you may have noticed those of Robert Tannen's installation, Art by Committee, starting here. In this piece, visitors were invited to contribute to murals being painted on huge swaths of fabric hung on the interior walls of the Art House on the Levee, which swaths were replaced whenever full so as to make space for more contributions. I just got word that the resulting murals will be exhibited at Ideal Auto Repair Warehouse, 422 Girod St. in New Orleans, opening Sat., Jan. 14, 6 - 9PM. Let me know if you spot my contribution.

December 14, 2011

Report #1 from Prospect.2 New Orleans: The Music Box

Prospect New Orleans is an international art biennial founded and directed by Dan Cameron, former Sr. Curator of the New Museum and Director of the New Orleans CAC. Cameron conceived the event as a way to help bring visitors back to the city after Katrina.

Prospect.1 in 2008 was more or less spectacular (see posts here); Prospect.2 was delayed a year for lack of funding and is smaller but still worth the trip.

The Music Box, A Shantytown Sound Laboratory: 
Phase one of Dithyrambalina is a local, "satellite" project and is not to be missed. Unfortunately, I couldn't get in for the season's last concert, but the artists were kind enough to let me visit the next day; more pics and vidis here.

The project began when the New Orleans Airlift acquired a barely-standing, late 18th century Creole cottage, which promptly fell to the ground. The group asked artist Swoon to take a look. For some time she'd been dreaming of a musical house; so the artists decided to use the remains of the cottage to create a collection of experimental shanties that could serve as prototypes for instrumentalities in a larger house they hope to build.

Audio recordings of shantytown concerts are available here.

The Music Box was curated by Delaney Martin with assistance from Swoon and Theo Eliezer and was created by those and other artists including Taylor Lee Shepherd, Jayme Kalal, Quintron, Taylor Kuffner/Zemi17, Ross Harmon, Ben Mortimer, Nick Yulman, Angeliska Polacheck & Colin McIntyre, Ranjit Bhatnagar, Serra Victoria Bothwell Fels, Elizabeth Shannon, Ratty Scurvics, Rainger Pinney & Jonah Emerson-Bell, Micah Learned, Aaron Kellner, Andrew Schrock, Jade Brandt, and Myrtle Von Damitz III.

Last in this post below is a really nice vidi by grossymmetric about The Music Box. also has a good video interview with Swoon about the project. More info on the project here.

Prospect.2 New Orleans runs through January 29, 2012.

Two more posts on the biennial to come.

December 5, 2011

Must See: Occupy Melbourne

On Wall Street, Some Insiders Express Quiet Outrage

From the NYT: "Last week, I had a conversation with a man who runs his own trading firm. In the process of fuming about competition from Goldman Sachs, he said with resignation and exasperation: 'The fact that they were bailed out and can borrow for free — it’s pretty sickening.'

"Though the sentiment is commonplace these days, I later found myself thinking about his outrage. Here is someone who is in the thick of the business, trading every day, and he is being sickened by the inequities and corruption on Wall Street and utterly persuaded that nothing has changed in the years since the financial crisis of 2008.

"Then I realized something odd: I have conversations like this as a matter of routine. I can’t go a week without speaking to a hedge fund manager or analyst or even a banker who registers somewhere on the Wall Street Derangement Scale.

* * * * *

"Mr. Mayo is particularly outraged over compensation for bank executives. Excessive compensation 'sends a signal that you take what you get and take it however you can,' he told me. 'That sends another signal to outsiders that the system is rigged. I truly wish the protestors didn’t have a leg to stand on, but the unfortunate truth is that they do.'" (Emphasis supplied.)

From Chris Hedges,"The historian Crane Brinton, in his book Anatomy of a Revolution, laid out the common route to revolution. The preconditions for successful revolution, Brinton argued, are discontent that affects nearly all social classes, widespread feelings of entrapment and despair, unfulfilled expectations, a unified solidarity in opposition to a tiny power elite, a refusal by scholars and thinkers to continue to defend the actions of the ruling class, an inability of government to respond to the basic needs of citizens, a steady loss of will within the power elite itself and defections from the inner circle, a crippling isolation that leaves the power elite without any allies or outside support and, finally, a financial crisis. Our corporate elite, as far as Brinton was concerned, has amply fulfilled these preconditions. But it is Brinton’s next observation that is most worth remembering. Revolutions always begin, he wrote, by making impossible demands that if the government met would mean the end of the old configurations of power. The second stage, the one we have entered now, is the unsuccessful attempt by the power elite to quell the unrest and discontent through physical acts of repression."

(The image above left is a 1912 cartoon about the then-proposed Federal Reserve Act. The image right is the UC Davis Occupy General Assembly the day after protesters there were gassed.)

December 4, 2011

Relational Aesthetics per Hennessy Youngman

I've been thinkin' about going to art school, but maybe all I need is Hennessy.


December 3, 2011

Update on Media Ownership

Thanks to Frugal Dad for this updated chart. (For an even bigger version, click on the image to see it in a separate page, then click on it again.)

The bright spot has, of course, been the internet; but the 1% is fast closing in on controlling that as well (click on the "media consolidation" label for a bit more info on that, and assume that things have gotten worse since those posts).

UPDATE: Some additional charts re- media ownership at, also, I believe, fairly recent.

Media Consolidation Infographic

Speaking of Systemic Problems . . . (for Those New to "Corporate Psychopathy")

As the Boston Globe reported in a blurb on a paper by Babiak, P. et al., “Corporate Psychopathy: Talking the Walk,” Behavioral Sciences & the Law (March/April 2010), "[o]ne of the authors of [a recent] study was hired by companies to evaluate managers . . . for a management development program. It turns out that these managers scored higher on measures of psychopathy than the overall population, and some who had very high scores were candidates for, or held, senior positions. In general, managers with higher scores were seen as better communicators, better strategic thinkers, and more creative. However, they were also seen as having poor management style, not being team players, and delivering poor performance. But, apparently, this didn’t prevent some of them from being seen as having leadership potential. The authors conclude that 'the very skills that make the psychopath so unpleasant (and sometimes abusive) in society can facilitate a career in business even in the face of negative performance ratings.'”

Fast Company has an excellent article with more info.