Saturday, October 29, 2016

'Nothing I've ever written has made so many people so angry'

Who buys cheap pays twice... And Chinese manufactures milk it ....

INK BOTTLE“My theory has always been to write a real small story against a big background.”
~ Burt Kennedy (quoted in The Guardian, February 16, 2001)

'Nothing I've ever linked to  has made so many people so pleased ... Iceland's Pirate Party senses victory in 'Panama Papers election'. A collective of anarchists, hackers and internet-freedom advocates could emerge as the new head of government in Reykjavik.

...Upstart Pirate Party senses victory in Iceland elections - Panama Papers

American Paul Beatty’s race satire wins Man Booker Prize Reuters. EM: “‘Asked about the language, [judging committee chair Amanda] Foreman said, “Paul Beatty has said being offended is not an emotion”.'”

Welcome To The George Orwell Theme Park Of Democracy James Howard Kunstler

There is a phrase I have used many times that is usually met with a shocked expression. It is this: The universal voting franchise was a terrible idea. “You can’t possibly mean that,” is the helpful response from people who evidently know my mind much better than does my mind itself. “That’s elitist!” Well yes, I suppose it is, so what’s your problem? Isn’t everything else we deem as important in (cough) civilized society elitist? We don’t let just anyone perform surgery, fly airplanes, command armies or even play quarterback for NFL teams. Yet, we allow flat-Earthers and birthers, Luddites and strange the exact same voting rights as you and me with all our formal and continuing education. What good is a system where wisdom is watered down in an ocean of ignorance, a system where everyone can vote?
One little problem. My argument is flawed ...Flawed Democracies

HyperNormalisation” is a summation of one of Curtis’s major themes: that liberalism — since the collapse of certainty about how its values would transform politics, finance and journalism — has in fact become genuinely conservative. In a world of unpredictability, it has retreated from genuine frontiers, instead opting for holding actions that can make it feel stable and safe.
So we live, thanks to our advanced systems of monitoring, compensation and control, in a bubble of our own devising. And in Curtis’s critique, contemporary artists and hipsters do as much to create this bubble as the internet itself. “On a social-media network, it’s very much like being in a heroin bubble. As a radical artist in the 1970s, you used to go and take heroin and wander through the chaos and the collapsing Lower East Side, and you felt safe. That’s very like now. You know you aren’t safe, but you feel safe because everyone is like you. But you don’t have to take heroin, so it’s brilliant. You don’t get addicted, or maybe you do. Mostly you do.”
Under Curtis’s riffing spell, gripes so familiar as to be almost embarrassing — artists paving the way to gentrification, sure; the internet seals us up in self-flattering silos, right — appear as thunderbolts lighting up a shadowy landscape. For an instant, Patti Smith and Richard Hell are as culpable in the Catastrophe of the Now as Alan Greenspan and Wernher von Braun. Jane Fonda, too. “Fonda is fascinating because she’s ‘radical,’ and then she does the next shift, which is to say, ‘If you can’t change the world, you change yourself, your body.’ And she kick-starts the VHS revolution with her exercise tapes. Then marries Ted Turner, who doesn’t want to analyze the news; he just wants to watch the news.”
Hypernormalisation Adam Curtis Trump Putin Syria

BC via BBC Adam Curtis and his new documentary covering this many other themes "Hypernormalisation"

Adam Curtis Documentaries
Better your enemies overestimate your stupidity than your shrewdness...Theo, yellow stars bloom like fireworks, 
and the waters glimmer with russet-gold
Starry Night Over the Rhone
“I've spent many, many days of my life reading for pleasure in order to inform myself about something,” he explained, underscoring the point that theater for him is primarily a recreation and not a schoolhouse activity. “The strongest, the most certain thing I think I know about the process is there is really, really good news if you end up feeling lucky rather than clever.” Tom Stoppard

Once upon a time, I lived alone with my father in a cottage at the edge of the wood. My father forbade me from entering the forest for fear I’d encounter Trump, the seething, hump-backed monster who lived there....

Last Thursday, Hungary dedicated busts of Zbigniew Herbert and Hannah Arendt in Budapest’s Széchenyi Square. The occasion was the sixtieth anniversary, on Oct. 23, of the Hungarian Revolution against Soviet domination.Daily News Hungary 

That’s a stretch, but we can’t expect a diplomat to be a close reader of poetry. Herbert’s first collection of poems, Chord of Light, was published in Poland in 1956, the year of the Hungarian revolt. Included is “Three Poems by Heart.” In the third section, as translated by John and Bogdana Carpenter, Herbert writes:

“the pigeons—

                  softly gray

“a Poet’s statue was in the park

children would roll their hoops

and colorful shouts

birds sat on the Poet’s hand

read his silence”

You probably think you know where the convergence of statue and pigeons is going, but Herbert leaves it unstated. Pigeons are roughly to public monuments as dogs are to fire plugs. Dictators love to see their image in public, preferably in outsized dimensions. Poets understand the experience can be unexpectedly humbling. Herbert’s poem continues:

“pigeons fell lightly

         like shot down air

“now the lips of the Poet

form an empty horizon

birds children and wives cannot live

in the city’s funereal shells

in cold eiderdowns of ashes”

A much-touted “thaw” was proclaimed in 1956, following Khrushchev’s speech to the 20th Party Congress, but those remained bleak years in Poland, Hungary and the rest of the Soviet bloc. Anything resembling freedom was many years away. Herbert concludes his poem:

“the city stands over water
smooth as the memory of a mirror
it reflects in the water from the bottom
and flies to a high star
where a distant fire is burning
like a page of the Iliad”

Slang: the changing face of cool

Slang has always evolved one step ahead of the mainstream. But how is it changing in the digital age, when a ‘wrong’ word so easily offends?
Books The Observer Slang: the changing face of cool

Study shows books can bring Republicans and Democrats together

Political rhetoric has never been more polarized – but getting together to discuss a good book may be the answer, or so research into literary behavior suggests
Political rhetoric has never been more polarized ...

How science fiction got the future wrong. Great-power rivalry, demographic collapse, mass migration have been absent from futurist  literature 

A Canadian journalist explains why he's fact-checking everything U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump says during these final days before the election. Read it

BuzzFeed followed the French Republicans' presidential primary debate and crowned Nicolas Sarkozy the biggest spinner. Meanwhile, Le Monde's Décodeurs debunked a much-shared claim that an ISIS leader endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. 

A Congressional race in Colorado is getting "down and dirty," with one candidate accusing his opponent of supporting a bill that allows welfare recipients to use their public benefit cards to pay for strippers. You  might be surprised at the Truth-o-Meter rating by Denver Channel 9 and PolitiFact. 

The Future Hiding in Plain Sight Archdruid. Lambert and I agree this is a must read.

Although the hacker’s name has not been released, video of the arrest, provided by Czech police, shows how it went down. Accompanied by his girlfriend, the Russian drove into the heart of Prague, the Czech capital, in a high-end automobile, to a swank hotel. The went to the hotel restaurant, only to be confronted by police, who moved so quickly that the Russian had no time to resist.
Indeed, he was so stunned by the appearance of the police at his table that the suspect fainted and was subsequently hospitalized. He is now in custody, awaiting an extradition request from Washington. The United States has 40 days from his arrest to ask for the Russian to be sent here to face charges, but Czech justice authorities today stated that they have yet to receive any American extradition request.
We don’t know specifically what hacking the Russian stands accused of, although Czech police have stated that he had perpetrated cyber-crimes against Americans, and he was wanted on an INTERPOL Red Notice—an indication that the FBI wanted to get their hands on this man rather badly.
Where’s the extradition request?

Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind Down the foggy ruins of time Far past the frozen leaves The haunted frightened trees Out to the windy bench Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky With one hand waving free Silhouetted by the sea Circled by the circus sands With all memory and fate Driven deep beneath the waves Let me forget about today until tomorrow

Dylan deserves the prize for the same basic reason that anyone else who is given it does: Those charged with bestowing the prize decided to bestow it on him.

Big tobacco’s new ambitions