Monday, October 10, 2011

Exorcism: A Long-lost Play by Eugene O'Neill


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(below: click to enlarge)






Thursday, September 15, 2011

the republican presidential race and the coverage of Ron Paul: a blatant example of the media interfering with democracy


Poll results for the 2012 Republican presidential race:

2012 presidential polls, ron paul polls, republican president poll
2012 presidential polls, ron paul polls, republican president poll

Without Palin:

Rick Perry 30%
Mitt Romney 25%
Ron Paul 10%
Michele Bachmann 9%
Newt Gingrich 5%
Herman Cain 5%
Rick Santorum 3%
Jon Huntsman 1%
Other 2%
No one/None of them 4%
Would not vote 1%
No opinion 5%

After looking at the polls, what conclusion should be reached? The frontrunners, according to the media, are: Perry (who's in first), Romney (in second), and... I'm sure you already know that it's not Paul but Bachmann who's considered to be the other frontrunner.

So how is it possible to look at this data and draw such a conclusion? Well, it's not. And since it's not, the exclusion of Paul can't be explained away by suggesting that it's something subconscious or coincidental. It couldn't be any more overt. And it's happening all across the board, spanning all forms and persuasions of mainstream media. Practically everyone is ignoring the third place candidate who, in most polls, has a significantly larger percentage than whichever candidate ends up fourth.

Isn't this the most noteworthy thing to happen thus far in the 2012 race?

John Stewart gave a good overview of the bias in August:




So, how can it be explained?

Since the media tends to prefer that which is entertaining to that which is actually important, one would think they'd like Paul, since, like Bachmann, he's an entertaining candidate who's also easy to make fun of. But they don't. Some will say this is because the media assumes he has no chance of winning, but, even assuming that's true (who can really know?), it's not for them to say! And it's certainly not for them to do their best to make sure this narrative comes true! Furthermore, even if we can somehow forgive them for this (we can't), the idea that Paul is ignored because he "has no chance" has already been discredited by the media outlets themselves; all one has to do is look at how they've handled other candidates who have yet to approach even half of the support Paul has in the polls.

Other people might explain this treatment by saying that Bachmann still remains on the lips of the media because of her strong showing in the Ames Straw Poll. Firstly, this still doesn't give them the right (or reason) to ignore Paul. Why should the time and consideration devoted to Bachmann come at the expense of the candidate who's now beating her (sometimes handily) in the polls? Why can't they cover them both? Secondly, this narrative doesn't make all that much sense when we take a look at the actual results:


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Look at how close Paul was to Bachmann (less than 1%), and look at how far both of them were above the field. Yet what was the narrative that emerged from this? The fact that Bachmann won was the main focus. Fine. But what was the subplot? The discussion revolved around how strong Perry's showing was considering the fact that he was a write-in candidate! Wow. (And now he's the frontrunner... Go figure.)

More bias:

"Peter Schiff, a former economic adviser to Ron Paul, exposes how ABC News twice fraudulently reported on a poll it was referencing by pretending that Michelle Bachmann was in 3rd place, completely ignoring Ron Paul who was the actual 3rd place poll winner."


ron paul media bias, republican presidential race bias
left: ABC News capture; right: the poll they were using


Pundits and so-called journalists are not just looking at concrete data and then consciously drawing the wrong conclusion from it, they're also -- in order to hide the absurdity of it -- slyly trying to cover it up.

Let me go back for a minute and stress the point again: the media is overtly undermining the democratic process! Now, I'm not naive enough to think this is something new, but this time they're doing it in a way that's so obvious it would be difficult for anyone not to acknowledge it. Yet it's not a very big story. Of course we shouldn't expect it to be much of a story since it would require the corporate media to criticize itself and admit to an utter lack of objectivity. (The near impossibility of this occurring illustrates another problem.) On top of that, it's not a sexy, high-ratings kind of story, which is yet another reason no one is eager to puff it up into a big story. (See Neil Postman's essential Amusing Ourselves to Death for more on this.)

Fortunately, the Pew Research Center did a study comparing the "number of campaign stories as lead newsmaker" for each candidate. Here are the results:

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"In the days after his runner-up finish to Michele Bachmann in Iowa’s August 13 GOP straw poll, Texas Congressman Ron Paul complained about a lack of media coverage, accusing the press of being 'frightened by me challenging the status quo and the establishment.'" [X]

Let's be clear. None of this has anything to do with partisanship; it simply can't be explained away using the tired Left/Right narrative. In fact, it's a decent illustration of how much of a diversion that view usually is since it's a narrative which subtly masks the reality of the corporate owned and influenced media complex, a system that allows and encourages certain fluctuations of opinion just as long as the opinions exist within a business centered paradigm.

Personally, I'm far from being a Paul supporter, but this makes me very angry. We should all be angry, even Bachmann's supporters.

So yes, the bias is probably obvious to anyone who has been following the race. The important question is, why is it happening? I don't know exactly, but I do know that the main positions Paul has that are out of the mainstream revolve around our foreign policy (he understands cause and effect, and he wants to slash the military budget). Does this mean he simply doesn't have the kind of behind the scenes support he needs from all the right people to even get fair media coverage? If so, what does that say about how utterly corrupt the mainstream media is -- NBC, Fox News, CNN, everything? (Not that we needed another example to show us how corrupt the media is.)

Here is the only interesting part of the recent Tea Party debate on CNN. Ron Paul dares to say that which must not be said. (The video will automatically start in the middle; make sure you watch until 10:29 or you'll miss the best parts):



* * *

Here's the "regular folks" candidate, Rick Perry, whom the media picked out to cheerlead early on:


Bank of America Lobbyist: "We'll help you out."


(Perry supporters will no doubt say that the above video shows nothing at all, that it merely highlights the role money plays in politics; after all, Perry doesn't make any kind of deal in the video. His supporters should instead ask themselves why Bank of America is so interested in what their candidate is selling.)

* * *
"Statesmen may devise policies; they will end in futility, as so many have recently ended, if the propagandists and censors can put a painted screen where there should be a window to the world. Few episodes in recent history are more poignant than that of the British Prime Minister, sitting at the breakfast table with that morning’s paper before him protesting that he cannot do the sensible thing in regard to Russia because a powerful newspaper proprietor has drugged the public. That incident is a photograph of the supreme danger which confronts popular government. All other dangers are contingent upon it, for the news is the chief source of the opinion by which government now proceeds. So long as there is interposed between the ordinary citizen and the facts a news organization determining by entirely private and unexamined standards, no matter how lofty, what he shall know, and hence what he shall believe, no one will be able to say that the substance of democratic government is secure. [...] In so far as those who purvey the news make of their own beliefs a higher law than truth, they are attacking the foundations of our constitutional system. There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and shame the devil." --Walter Lippmann, Liberty and the News


Saturday, August 6, 2011

blog game experiment 2 (materials): On Thought Diving and its Many Uses

I wrote the following in January (original post HERE):

"An idea: a type of guest post where I send someone a topic and some (electronic) "materials" (excerpts, quotes, pictures, links), and the recipient is then challenged to turn it all into a post. Personal writing and thoughts, outside quotes/excerpts/photos/writing, or anything else, is allowed. The only rule is that everything I send must be used. The final result would be posted in a way that would alert the reader as to which specific things were supplied by me.

If anyone thinks this sounds like a fun idea, feel free to volunteer or ask questions (email me or post a comment). I can reveal the subject (or provide a few hints) if no one wants to go in completely blind. The basic idea would probably be even more fruitful with more than one participant (the results could be posted side by side), but just one would be great.

Another way of playing: sending materials without providing a topic.

Anyone?"

The second volunteer has recently submitted their contribution! Click HERE to see the result.

Since some of the materials were presented in an "either or" fashion, I decided it would be best to give readers access to what the participant was given.


* * *


Your TOPIC: Thought-divers; deep divers; divers (or any and all variation(s) thereof).

REQUIRED TEXT:

"Nay, I do not oscillate in X’s rainbow, but prefer rather to hang myself in mine own halter than swing in any other man’s swing. Yet I think X is more than a brilliant fellow. Be his stuff begged, borrowed, or stolen, or of his own domestic manufacture he is an uncommon man. Swear he is a humbug — then is he no common humbug. Lay it down that had not Sir Thomas Browne lived, X would not have mystified — I will answer, that had not Old Zack’s father begot him, old Zack would never have been the hero of Palo Alto. The truth is that we are all sons, grandsons, or nephews or great-nephews of those who go before us. No one is his own sire. — I was very agreeably disappointed in Mr X. I had heard of him as full of transcendentalisms, myths & oracular gibberish; I had only glanced at a book of his once in Putnam’s store — that was all I knew of him, till I heard him lecture. — To my surprise, I found him quite intelligible, tho’ to say truth, they told me that that night he was unusually plain. — Now, there is a something about every man elevated above mediocrity, which is, for the most part, instinctuly perceptible. This I see in Mr X. And, frankly, for the sake of the argument, let us call him a fool; — then had I rather be a fool than a wise man. — I love all men who dive. Any fish can swim near the surface, but it takes a great whale to go down stairs five miles or more; & if he don’t attain the bottom, why, all the lead in Galena can’t fashion the plumet that will. I’m not talking of Mr X now — but of the whole corps of thought-divers, that have been diving & coming up again with bloodshot eyes since the world began.

I could readily see in X, notwithstanding his merit, a gaping flaw. It was, the insinuation, that had he lived in those days when the world was made, he might have offered some valuable suggestions. These men are all cracked right across the brow. And never will the pullers-down be able to cope with the builders-up. And this pulling down is easy enough — a keg of powder blew up Block’s Monument — but the man who applied the match, could not, alone, build such a pile to save his soul from the shark-maw of the Devil. But enough of this Plato who talks thro’ his nose."

--Melville's Letter to Evert Duyckinck, March 3 1849. ("X" is Emerson. You may keep it more general (with X), or reinsert Emerson.) The part in bold is what you MUST USE, but feel free to use all (or any selection) of it - so long as the bold text is used completely.

SELECT(ED) TEXT:

In English (I suggest the Millay Dillon translation, but you can use any, or collage them. If you can't find the Millay/Dillon for either of the following poems online, let me know.)

Something from Baudelaire's poem The Albatross

OR

Something from his poem Le Voyage / Travel.

* * *

At least one sentence from Bolano's The Savage Detectives

OR

At least one sentence from Camus' The Rebel.

(In this case it is not prohibited to use both, but it is strictly prohibited to use something from both Baudelaire poems.)

* * *

A RULE:

You may not excerpt anything found on Wikipedia (as far as you know, obviously).

* * *

PICTURES (resize at will):

A photograph of Melville of your choosing.

REQUIRED photos from attachments: x; x3; x4

x:

x3:

x4:


At least one (both not required): x6; x7

x6:

x7:

At least one: x9; x10

x9:

x10:

At least one: x2; x5; x8; x11

x2:

x5:

x8:

x11:

I've kept the information/names of the photos unknown to you so they work more purely as images (I think all of them speak for themselves).

Hopefully I haven't selected too many pictures, but I went with them in favor of text...

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Gil Scott-Heron (1949 – 2011). New York is Killing Me: The unlikely survival of Gil Scott-Heron by Alec Wilkinson (August 2010 article)




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click the images to view them in a readable size (then click them again, if need be)


For anyone not already familiar, click HERE to listen to "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." Also check out this version (re-recorded with a band).

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rare Zendik Arts Farm publication "eARTh" (with Frank Zappa interview)

See also: FRANKLY SPEAKING: ZAPPA THE COMPOSER (1940 - 1993) - The Influence of Varèse and the Evolution of Classical Pop

To read more about Wulf Zendik, go HERE. (There is also a little information on Wikipedia.)

The Zappa interview is on pages 7-11. It was originally published in Ecolibrium Interviews magazine, issue #19 (1985).

Some parts are a little blurry, but everything is readable.

Click to enlarge (then click again, if need be).


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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

blog game experiment materials (1): Exit Through the Gift Shop


I wrote the following in January (original post HERE):

"An idea: a type of guest post where I send someone a topic and some (electronic) "materials" (excerpts, quotes, pictures, links), and the recipient is then challenged to turn it all into a post. Personal writing and thoughts, outside quotes/excerpts/photos/writing, or anything else, is allowed. The only rule is that everything I send must be used. The final result would be posted in a way that would alert the reader as to which specific things were supplied by me.

If anyone thinks this sounds like a fun idea, feel free to volunteer or ask questions (email me or post a comment). I can reveal the subject (or provide a few hints) if no one wants to go in completely blind. The basic idea would probably be even more fruitful with more than one participant (the results could be posted side by side), but just one would be great.

Another way of playing: sending materials without providing a topic.

Anyone?"

Three people volunteered. The topic I selected was Exit Through the Gift Shop. The first result has been published on my blog, the second will likely not be seen at all (I haven't heard back from the second volunteer), and the third (with a different and less concrete topic) will be published at some unknown date in the future.

Since some of the materials were presented in an "either or" fashion, I decided it would be best to give readers access to what the participant(s) were given.

* * *


Remember, there are NO RULES except to use what I've sent.

THE MATERIALS:


Photos (you may resize them if it suits a purpose, as well as use them in any order):

(click to enlarge)


Picture 1 is by Ron English.
Picture 2 is by Thierry "Mr. Brainwash" Guetta
Picture 3 is a poster for Welles' film F for Fake. You have three options to choose from: a, b, or c.
Picture 4 is a still from the film Czech Dream.
Picture 5 is a comic. The author of the comic is not relevant.

You must also use at least one picture found on Banksy's webpage: http://www.banksy.co.uk/

* * *

Text:

You must use at least one sentence from this interview with Banksy: http://edendale.typepad.com/weblog/2010/12/banksy-yes-banksy-on-thierry-exit-skepticism-documentary-filmmaking-as-punk.html

* * *

You must use some (or all) of the following excerpt:

"One of the most striking things about the reaction to the current financial meltdown is that, as one of the participants put it: ‘No one really knows what to do.’ The reason is that expectations are part of the game: how the market reacts to a particular intervention depends not only on how much bankers and traders trust the interventions, but even more on how much they think others will trust them. Keynes compared the stock market to a competition in which the participants have to pick several pretty girls from a hundred photographs: ‘It is not a case of choosing those which, to the best of one’s judgment, are really the prettiest, nor even those which average opinion genuinely thinks the prettiest. We have reached the third degree where we devote our intelligence to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be.‘ We are forced to make choices without having the knowledge that would enable us to make them; or, as John Gray has put it: ‘We are forced to live as if we were free.’

Joseph Stiglitz recently wrote that, although there is a growing consensus among economists that any bailout based on Henry Paulson’s plan won’t work, ‘it is impossible for politicians to do nothing in such a crisis. So we may have to pray that an agreement crafted with the toxic mix of special interests, misguided economics and right-wing ideologies that produced the crisis can somehow produce a rescue plan that works – or whose failure doesn’t do too much damage.’ He’s right: since markets are effectively based on beliefs (even beliefs about other people’s beliefs), how the markets react to the bailout depends not only on its real consequences, but on the belief of the markets in the plan’s efficiency. The bailout may work even if it is economically wrong." --Zizek http://www.lrb.co.uk/2008/10/10/slavoj-zizek/dont-just-do-something-talk

OR

You can quote something Zizek says between the 14 minute and 15:10 minute mark in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gw8LPn4irao&

* * *

You must quote the entirety of one of the following:

"Can Shepard Fairey honestly be described as an artist who can critically assess the "unholy union of government and big business," or offer comments on the "underpinnings of the capitalist machine"? Yet that is exactly how he is promoted in the press release from the Merry Karnowsky Gallery of Los Angeles, where his solo exhibit Imperfect Union opens on December 1, 2007. Missing from that press release, and all other promotional materials released by Fairey, is any mention of his working hand in hand with that "capitalist machine". In a Nov. 3, 2007, interview with the Guardian, Fairey glibly stated, "I’m not against capitalism. If I was, I wouldn’t live in the US. If you get up everyday, work and spend money, you’re participating. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to critique it." - or profit handsomely from it for that matter." --http://www.art-for-a-change.com/Obey/index.htm

OR

"I believe Fairey exemplifies in many ways the operational model of capitalism. He extracts resources, largely from political struggles of Third World and working class people, and then slightly processes those resources (images), commodifies them (strips them of any history or relationship to where they came from), and sells them on the market. Like capitalism he simultaneously sells high-art versions to wealthy elites and then cheaper mass-commodity versions to the very same communities he is taking images from. This is how the making of all corporate products works." --http://www.justseeds.org/blog/2007/12/a_response_to_obey_plagiarist_1.html

I recommend reading both articles - in the order they're listed - but again, this is not required.

* * *

Finally, you must use the name "Elmyr de Hory" in the text at least once.