Filed under: brave new world, chronotopes | Tags: animals, Anthropocene, Earth, plants, Roy Scranton, the Opinionator, We're Doomed Now What?
The profit, progress, accumulation, growth, tech, market, oil ideology is old and doesn’t give us meaning. The instinct for meaning is strong and will circumvent this old idea. But then we will need a new language and a new way of seeing to make a new world: to look through the eyes of the ‘other,’: human, animal, vegetable, mineral; the eyes of birds, the being of clouds, seas, rocks, stars:
Yet it’s at just this moment of crisis that our human drive to make meaning reappears as our only salvation … if we’re willing to reflect consciously on the ways we make life meaningful — on how we decide what is good, what our goals are, what’s worth living or dying for, and what we do every day, day to day, and how we do it. Because if it’s true that we make our lives meaningful ourselves and not through revealed wisdom handed down by God or the Market or History, then it’s also true that we hold within ourselves the power to change our lives — wholly, utterly — by changing what our lives mean. Our drive to make meaning is more powerful than oil, the atom, and the market, and it’s up to us to harness that power to secure the future of the human species.
We can’t do it by clinging to the progressivist, profit-seeking, technology-can-fix-it ideology of fossil-fueled capitalism. We can’t do it by trying to control the future. We need to learn to let our current civilization die, to accept our mortality and practice humility. We need to work together to transform a global order of meaning focused on accumulation into a new order of meaning that knows the value of limits, transience and restraint.
Most important, we need to give up defending and protecting our truth, our perspective, our Western values, and understand that truth is found not in one perspective but in their multiplication, not in one point of view but in the aggregate, not in opposition but in the whole. We need to learn to see not just with Western eyes but with Islamic eyes and Inuit eyes, not just with human eyes but with golden-cheeked warbler eyes, coho salmon eyes, and polar bear eyes, and not even just with eyes at all but with the wild, barely articulate being of clouds and seas and rocks and trees and stars.
Opinionator, We’re Doomed, Now What? Roy Scranton
Filed under: chronotopes, unseen world | Tags: change, Figures of Dissent, terry eagleton, utopia
Idealist 1 (believes in perfect society) > Realist < Idealist 2 (supports the status quo)
The realist, wedged between two types of idealist, believes things will change no matter what, either for the better, or for the worse. The true idealist believes there will be no change or that there can be perfection. The big surprise though, status quo is an idealist position because of the inevitability of change.
There are two kinds of starry-eyed idealist: those who believe in a perfect society; and those who hold that the future will be pretty much like the present. Wedged between them are the realists, who recognize that the future will be a lot different, though by no means necessarily better. To claim that human affairs might feasibly be much improved is a realist position; those with their heads truly in the clouds are the hard-nosed pragmatists who behave as though chocolate-chip cookies or the International Monetary Fund will still be with us in two thousand years time. Such a view is simply an inversion of the television cartoon The Flintstones, for which the remote past is just American suburbia plus dinosaurs.
Utopias I, Figures of Dissent, Terry Eagleton
R. Crumb: music died in 1935, poisoned, stolen, resold, repackaged, neutered and killed by the music business.
In the ’20s in Philly, in every house, people played and sang live music. In the country as a whole there were bands, dance halls, ballrooms, auditoriums and clubs. Radio, the depression, movies and finally TVs killed it. Itunes, streaming are more nails.
“I don’t miss that culture. The America that I missed died in about 1935. That’s why I have all this old stuff, all these old 78 records from that era. It was the golden age of recorded music, before the music business poisoned the people’s music, the same way that ‘agribusiness’ poisoned the very soil of the earth. In the old days, music was produced by common people, the music they produced to entertain themselves. The record industry took it and resold it, repackaged and killed it, spewed it out in a bland, artificial, ersatz version of itself. This goes along with the rise of the mass media, the spread of radio. My mother, born in the 1920s, remembered walking in the street in the summertime in Philadelphia, and in every other house, people were playing some kind of live music. Her parents played music and sang together. In her generation, her brothers didn’t want to play an instrument anymore. It was the swing era and all they wanted to do was to listen to Benny Goodman on the radio. The takeover of radio happened much later. In places like Africa, you can still find great recorded music from the ’50s. I have many 78s from Africa at that time that sound like some great rural music from America in the ’20s. In the U.S at that time there were thousands and thousands of bands, dance halls, ballrooms in hotels, restaurants had dance floors, school auditoriums, clubs in small towns. A small town of 10,000 would have a least a hundred bands. In the mid 30’s radio spread very fast in America and the depression killed a lot of the venues where live music was performed. You could go to the movies for 10 cents. Then in the 50’s TV finished it all off. Mass media makes you stay home, passive. In the 20’s there was live music everywhere in the States. I talked to old musicians who played in dance bands. This old musician bandleader Jack Coackley in San Francisco told me that in 1928 when you went downtown in the evening on the trolley car to play at a ballroom, the streets were full of musicians going to work, carrying instruments in cases. Same thing happened in France with the death of musette, the popular dance music of the working classes. There hasn’t been a decent popular music in America for a long time.”
Robert Crumb Hates You, Jacques Hyzagi, Observer
Filed under: departure lounge, the sweet life, unseen world | Tags: David Luttschwager, Life in One Cubic Foot
Central Park, Smithsonian exhibit “Life in One Cubic Foot” by David Liittschwager
Filed under: Uncategorized
In 2007 there were 301.6 million people in the US; and there were 55,000 journalists writing at 1,400 daily papers. That’s one journalist per 5,484 people.
In 2015 there were 320 million people in the US; and there were 32,900 journalists writing at ?? daily papers. That’s one journalist per 9,726 people.
The term “seismic shift” is overused, but it applies to what’s happened to American newspapers. In 2007, there were 55,000 full-time journalists at nearly 1,400 daily papers; in 2015, there were 32,900, according to a census by the American Society of News Editors and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Florida International University. That doesn’t include the buyouts and layoffs last fall, like those at the Los Angeles Times,The Philadelphia Inquirer and the New York Daily News, among others, and weeklies and magazines like National Geographic.
Filed under: brave new world | Tags: James Meek, London Review of Books, Robin Hood in a Time of Austerity
Turning the myth which used to be: Robin Hood stealing from the rich to give to the poor, into its opposite: taking from the poor to give to the … ? The old myth was easy to describe and to get behind: the rich were clearly preying on the poor who were suffering unnecessarily. The new myth, described below, is twisted and illogical, and yet somehow wildly popular the world over. The poor wallow, luxuriate and are idle, while the rich are hard working and deserving. The new Robin Hood is cruel, vindictive, a rat, saboteur, fink, grouse, ammoral, a spy.
It’s a plan. Taking from the rich to give to the poor has been, is and should be the way forward for an exploited majority against remote, unaccountable concentrations of extreme wealth and power. One word for it is ‘redistribution’. Robin Hood is a programme of the left. Robin Hood is Jeremy Corbyn. He’s Russell Brand. He’s Hugo Chávez.
So it used to seem. But a change has come about. The wealthiest and most powerful in Europe, Australasia and North America have turned the myth to their advantage. In this version of Robin Hood the traditional poor – the unemployed, the disabled, refugees – have been put into the conceptual box where the rich used to be. It is they, the social category previously labelled ‘poor’, who are accused of living in big houses, wallowing in luxury and not needing to work, while those previously considered rich are redesignated as the ones who work terribly hard for fair reward or less, forced to support this new category of poor-who-are-considered-rich. In this version the sheriff of Nottingham runs a ruthless realm of plunder and political correctness, ransacking the homesteads of honest peasants for money to finance the conceptual rich – that is, the unemployed, the disabled, refugees, working-class single mothers, dodgers, scroungers, chavs, chisellers and cheats.
In this version of the myth, Robin Hood is a tax-cutter and a handout-denouncer. He’s Jeremy Clarkson. He’s Nigel Farage. He’s Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. He’s by your elbow in the pub, telling you he knows an immigrant who just waltzed into the social security office and walked out with a cheque for £1000. He’s in the pages of the Daily Mail, fingering a workshy good-for-nothing with 11 children, living in a luxury house on the public purse. He’s sabotaging the sheriff of Nottingham’s wicked tax-gathering devices – speed cameras and parking meters. He’s on talk radio, denouncing inheritance tax. He’s winning elections.
Robin Hood in a Time of Austerity, James Meek, London Review of Books