JWZ on Witch House as an after-tremor of goth:
the current batch of “Witch House” bands, which is a micro-genre that was invented about six minutes ago that seems to be comprised of an odd mix of late-80s goth, shoegaze and trip-hop, as if Love is Colder Than Death were covering Jesus and Mary Chain while the singer from Rosetta Stone tried to rap…it’s just about the only thing that remotely qualifies as “goth” that has come out in the last ten years.
Wobbly in the Shell:
The army of production must be organized, not only for the everyday struggle with capitalists, but also to carry on production when capitalism shall have been overthrown. By organizing industrially we are forming the structure of the new society within the shell of the old.
Eucatastrophe: Tolkein’s term for the unexpected happy turn at the end of story. I would have imagined, firstly that there would be an existing term for that, and secondly that Tolkein would have known it. Apparently not.
Jesus. This really isn’t a parody:
Product Red, styled as (PRODUCT)RED, is a brand licensed to partner companies such as Nike, American Express (UK), Apple Inc., Starbucks, Converse, Bugaboo, Penguin Classics (UK & International), Gap, Emporio Armani, Hallmark (US) and Dell. It was founded in 2006 by U2 frontman and activist Bono and Bobby Shriver of ONE/DATA to engage the private sector in raising awareness and funds to help eliminate AIDS in Africa
TV now tells you what to feel.
It doesn’t tell you what to think anymore. From EastEnders to reality format shows, you’re on the emotional journey of people – and through the editing, it gently suggests to you what is the agreed form of feeling. “Hugs and Kisses”, I call it.
I nicked that off Mark Ravenhill who wrote a very good piece which said that if you analyse television now it’s a system of guidance – it tells you who is having the Bad Feelings and who is having the Good Feelings. And the person who is having the Bad Feelings is redeemed through a “hugs and kisses” moment at the end. It really is a system not of moral guidance, but of emotional guidance.
Wikileaks: finally, Sombody Gets It:
The strategy of Wikileaks, as explained in an essay by Julian Assange, is to make the world transparent, so that closed organizations are disabled, and open ones aren’t hurt. But he’s wrong. Actually, a free flow of digital information enables two diametrically opposed patterns: low-commitment anarchy on the one hand and absolute secrecy married to total ambition on the other.
While many individuals in Wikileaks would probably protest that they don’t personally advocate radical ideas about transparency for everybody but hackers, architecture can force all our hands. This is exactly what happens in current online culture. Either everything is utterly out in the open, like a music file copied a thousand times or a light weight hagiography on Facebook, or it is perfectly protected, like the commercially valuable dossiers on each of us held by Facebook or the files saved for blackmail by Wikileaks.
The Wikileaks method punishes a nation — or any human undertaking — that falls short of absolute, total transparency, which is all human undertakings, but perversely rewards an absolute lack of transparency. Thus an iron-shut government doesn’t have leaks to the site, but a mostly-open government does.
If the political world becomes a mirror of the Internet as we know it today, then the world will be restructured around opaque, digitally delineated power centers surrounded by a sea of chaotic, underachieving openness. Wikileaks is one prototype of a digital power center, but others include hedge funds and social networking sites.
One clever trope that Urasawa introduces, which I think is genuinely an original one – not just with respect to the Tezuka original but with respect to the whole genre of robot fiction – is that in this world there are celebrity robots, like Mont Blanc. The humans revere them. And yet the humans continue to treat the mass of ordinary robots as disposable non-persons, despite the fact that it’s not so clear what would separate your old-model cleaning lady robot from noble Mont Blanc. Is it just that the cleaning lady doesn’t write poetry? I think this is good allegory of typical ethnic conflict patterns. The dominant group somewhat assuages its guilt/uncertainty, by raising just a few members of the minority above even the level of the majority, imbuing them with extra authenticity and heroism, and somehow in this way actually cementing the old majority/minority relations in place, rather than challenging them.
[tl;dr: I don’t get Aphex Twin]
This weekend I have been mostly listening guiltily to electronic music. Guiltily, because after 4 years around Berlin I surely ought to either love or hate it. Instead my reaction is puzzlement. Occasional moments of ecstatic comprehension as I find encounter something that moves me. Boredom listening to most of the rest, especially the stompy repetition that seems too dull even to dance along with. And a dull ear which can’t distinguish the two, can’t figure out which genres or properties make for music I like.
Currently listening to Aphex Twin’s drukqs. It communicates largely in a register I don’t understand, mostly avoiding danceable segments or buildup/breakdown.
Still, there’s The track
Mt. St Michel
is one of the easier to tune into — high-paced tpaping on the beat, and then a bunch of calmer stuff going on in the background.
But it seems nobody else likes/understands this album either, even amidst Aphex Twin fans. Popmatters:
The tunes oscillate between exciting hyperactive beat-happening compositions and tedious exercises in piano practice or can-banging. There seems to be no real content to the album, and the tracks follow no theme or pattern.
[also, I wish I had enough of a technical musical vocabulary to figure out what I’m listening to, and why. Feel horribly handicapped whenever I try to discuss music. Really want a few very old-fashined lessons in musicology]
Child poverty to worsen under coalition, says IFS – Yahoo! News UK
Among all children and working-age individuals, we forecast a rise in relative poverty of about 800,000 and a rise in absolute poverty of about 900,000 between 2010-11 and 2013-14,” said Robert Joyce, author of the IFS report.