robotnik2004: (Default)
That was pretty sweet.

We watched the inauguration on the TV in the Centre for American Studies. There were like 50 students crammed into the little office and spilling out the door. [ profile] papersource and the Ukelele are there on the Mall somewhere, but I've had no luck raising them on the cellphone.
robotnik2004: (Default)
Alvin Wasserman, thou art avenged.

Edit: Are the American networks carrying this footage that CBC has of people outside the White House? Are they cheering or rioting? Is that a Soviet flag? Weird. They're a flash mob of kids from the GWU dorms. Cool.
robotnik2004: (Default)
Execution by Elephant, 1868

I HAVE BEEN MEANING to get back into LiveJournal lately. After some weeks of benign neglect, I have resumed following your various ins and outs, and rediscovered how much I enjoy listening in on the clever prattle of so many of my favorite people. And so I keep telling myself that ANY DAY NOW, I will start dropping life updates and dishy gossip and political analysis and game ideas like Dolemite. Just as soon as I have some free time and something interesting to say, I tell myself.

CLEVER GIRL, have you spotted the fatal flaw in my cunning plan?

YES! If I wait until blessed with time and cleverness, my LiveJournal will look sad and empty like this. (Note: none of those posts are guaranteed to be clever. Warranty void if removed.) So instead I decided to post at a moment when I have NO FREE TIME and NOTHING INTERESTING TO SAY. Zig when they zag, you know. Time management JIU JITSU.

In thirty minutes, I am going to moderate a forum on the UNITED STATES election. It's going to be on community access cable and everything. Because we felt there had been a DISTINCT LACK OF PUNDITRY of this election to date. Anyone have anything intelligent I should say?
robotnik2004: (Default)
Douglas Rushkoff (the optimistic Gen-X intellectual angel on my right shoulder - on my left shoulder is pessimistic Gen-X intellectual devil Tom Frank) on the RNC last night:

I felt a bit nauseous watching the Republican convention last night. I’m very much a give-the-benefit-of-the-doubt kind of guy, so I try to listen to the arguments people make even when they’re made in over-the-top or patronizing ways. Sometimes it’s good to distinguish between the rhetorical devices and the underlying substance. Even people who use manipulative language sometimes have an important point beneath their persuasion techniques (ads against smoking, for example).

I usually don’t feel uneasy when I put those filters on, but last night - during the Guiliani speech - I realized I was no longer filtering a speechwriter’s intentional manipulation; I was trying to look beyond real hate. These folks were gritting their teeth, shaking their fists, and smiling the way gladiators do when going into combat against barbarians. And this is the incumbent party. The ones currently in power.

What is it they hate? Guiliani and Palin both made it pretty clear: community organizing. Community organizing is energized from below. From the periphery. It is the direction and facilitation of mass energy towards productive and cooperative ends. It is about replacing conflict with collaboration. It is the opposite of war; it is peace.

Last night, the Republican Convention made it clear they prefer war. They see the world as a dangerous and terrible place. Like the fascist leaders satirized in Starship Troopers, they say they believe it is better to be on the offensive, taking the war to the people who might wish us harm than playing defense. It is better to be an international aggressor - a bulldog with lipstick - than led by the misguided notion that attacking people itself makes the world a more dangerous place.

In their attack on community organizing - a word combination they pretended they didn’t know what it meant - Giuliani and Palin revealed their refusal to acknowledge the kinds of bottom-up processes through which our society was built, and through which local communities can begin to assert some authority over their schools, environments, and economies. Without organized communities, you don’t get the reduction in centralized government the Republicans pretend to be arguing for. In their view, community organizing as, at best, equivalent to disruptive and unpredictable Al Qaeda activity.

But it actually goes deeper than this. Consider how Republicans have so far justified their choice of candidate: he is a “great man.” That America needs a “hero” in the White House to lead us in continued preemptive strikes against Bin Laden in Iraq (I know Bin Laden is not in Iraq, but Giuliani clearly implied he was). Only a leader with McCain’s war record and paternal qualifications can help Americans muster and maintain the tenacity necessary to “drill baby drill,” (even though this will have no influence on oil price or supply) and generate the requisite hate to “kill baby, kill.” As I explained in Coercion, having a parent figure on whom to transfer authority allows people to regress to a more childlike state. This not only allows them to feel safe; if gives them the freedom to express their rage. Make no mistake - that’s what we’re witnessing. And this rage - not America - is the greatest threat to humanity’s long-term chances for survival.

Republican party representatives are proud today that their convention has finally produced the “same level of energy and enthusiasm” as the DNC’s last week. And while it may have produced the same level of excitement, the excitement was of a very different character. It’s much easier to get people riled up but inviting them to hate a man - particularly one who they haven’t been allowed to hate for traditional reasons. Giuliani’s job - much like his job as mayor of NYC - was to give the Republicans in attendance permission to hate Obama and the potentially intelligent society he represents. It’s not about city vs. country or educated vs. military. It’s about thought vs. violence.


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July 2014

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