Archive - 2007

Riseup Network TV

Josh Wolf, the Bay Area blogger (and current San Francisco mayoral candidate) who was jailed by a grand jury for not turning over footage he shot at a local protest, is now free and running a 2-hour TV program called RUNtv - RUN standing for Rise Up Network. It airs on Peralta TV, which is evidently a cable channel run by Peralta Community College in Oakland.

For each installment of the show, he includes segments from radical videographers around the country, and then places them online and lets people vote on their favorite. The winners receive cash prizes and a chance to compete in the end of season contest.

The latest episode of the show includes my short doc about Sandhill Cranes. Go check it out and cast your vote.

Dry River Doc

I've been working for the last week on a newish project: a DVD/doc about Dry River.The 2nd anniversary of DR having a physical space is coming up November 3, and i thought it would be fitting to get it done in time for that. I've been recording video and audio of various events, mostly music shows, at the space for 2 years, since it opened. So it seemed a simple process to pull all that together with some stills, add some interviews, and voila, a quick and dirty documentary. But, it's not as quick as I thought. there's so much footage to sift through. and i have keep reminding myself that i said it would be quick and dirty and sloppy. my natural tendency is to labor over edits and get fancy and, maybe even get arty, and in general, well, have some pride in my work.

Anyway, I hope I can resist spending too much time on it because there many other projects i should be spending time on, especially ones that might earn me money. It's just like me to get excited about something that's completely voluntary and unpaid, and neglect other things that might be more lucrative, or even more important to the world.

But for what it's worth, I have uploaded a rough draft of the first 30 seconds or so.

The Truth About 9/11 "Truth" Theories

Douglas Rushkoff writes for the new issue of Arthur an excellent, pointed, yet concise piece about what's wrong with 9/11 conspiracy theories and theorists. Here's the main nugget of wisdom, though there are many others:

By looking under the rug for what isn't even there, we neglect the horror show that is in plain view. In the process, we make it even easier for the criminals running our government to perpetuate their illegal, unethical and un-American activities.

Bring Some Home, and Also Do The Right Thing in the Region

This recent article in the New Yorker about troop withdrawal from Iraq and realistic planning underscores and articulates something that I've always known as a feeling since the very first shouts of "support the troops! bring them home!": things are complicated. In Iraq, really really complicated. And simply pulling out all our forces as fast as possible sounds great but it would be disaster, and it would be cruel and horrible to the Iraqis, and to all the Middle East.

And Bush really fucked things up. And it's so so sad, that the hubris and arrogance and politicking and petty greed and ignorance has resulted in something like a million dead Iraqis (so far) and has fucked up the country and maybe the whole region for decades. Decades. Just because some dumbshit from texas and his cronies thought they were playing some little game that would maybe increase their stock portfolios. Fucking lying dipshit idiots.

But this article makes it clear that there's no going back, and there's no just throwing up our hands and saying "oops! Gosh those Republicans sure were bad. Well, ok, we're going home now, bye." Stupid W got us into this, but there ain't no getting out without admitting he fucked up, and doing the responsible thing to at least minimize further catastrophe.

Mole Party to Benefit No Borders Camp

A Million Dollars to Jim Crow Land

Free The Jena 6Today 50,000 people from all over the country are in Jena, Louisiana to demand justice for the 6 kids being persecuted by the racist district attorney there. If you haven't been following the situation have a look into it. Houston Indymedia has a feature on it.

Around here in Tucson it's lucky if anyone has even heard about it, much less getting involved, even the activist types I know. It's kind of amazing, but I guess most people I know are already so busy with whatever issues they already work on so hard all the time, mostly border stuff or enviro stuff.

A few of us were thinking of going to Jena but, well, it just wasn't going to work. I can't afford stuff like that these days. But I got a t-shirt...

In the spirit of my cynical previous blog post today, despite the good cause, I can't help doing the math: 50,000 people from all over, most of whom probably flew to Alexandria or New Orleans and then bussed or taxied, and got hotel rooms, and ate at restaurants, etc etc.... I bet at least a million dollars was spent collectively by all these committed activists.

Things are already looking up, one kid's conviction was overturned because an appeals court said he shouldn't have been tried as an adult... Maybe this is the best way to spend a million dollars, but maybe not. Think of everything for this cause that could have been done with a million dollars... even better lawyers? Billboards all over Jena? maybe stun guns or self-defense classes for all the african-americans in Jena? bribes? hitmen to take out the DA? I dunno, but all those things would also probably spew less carbon into the atmosphere too. I dunno. I dunno.

October Boondoggle

I just found out about "October Rebellion," a week of protests in DC against the IMF and World Bank. The cause is great but wow, what a waste. When are people going to get past marches and rallies? You'd think that after literally millions of people around the world on one day in 2003 marched against the impending war in Iraq and made no difference at all that people would start to re-evaluate this tactic on a large scale. But it doesn't seem like it's sunk in.

Imagine what we could do if all the effort and time and money and calories went into other things, instead of being put into organizing all the marching and standing around chanting and waving signs, all the greenhouse gases spewed into the air by all those jet-setting activists flying to the mass mobilizations, all the jail support for the ones that get arrested, all the trials and lawsuits and medical bills for the ones that get charged and beat up and gassed, etc etc....

Don't people get that these protests are basically the equivalent of whining to the government, asking them to fix things? Don't people get that the government never will really fix things? The Zapatistas learned that. Like them, let's just dive in and do the work to make the new world we want and stop wasting our time asking power to do it for us.

(As you can perhaps tell, I'm feeling a bit cynical lately, but not cynical enough to invalidate my point above, I feel.)


I just finished skimming through (reading maybe half of the reviews) a zine called "Best Zine Ever!" It's a review zine that has short descriptions of a great many recent issues of zines.

One big thing popped out at me as I looked at it: most zines these days, or at least the ones this review zine tends to like, are "perzines," in other words, personal zines, which are pretty much autobiographical affairs that concentrate on daily life and "finding oneself," travelogues, etc. There's nothing wrong with this, and in fact I enjoy a lot of perzines. However, where are all the other zines? I remember when there were zines about everything. Cooking, politics, music (of course), science fiction, art, various subcultures, various lifestyles. Now, instead of doing more journalistic or survey type DIY publications, zinesters seem to be concentrating on very self-focussed writing and cartooning.

If this is the case for the zine world at large and not just the preference of collective of reviewers who write for "Best Zine Ever!", then why is this? I have 2 theories: 1) people interested in other topics have moved their efforts largely to the web. 2) the decrease in publication costs have led to people interested in other topics to go into producing publications with higher production values, which start to be considered more "magazines" and not "zines" anymore (although I would contend that the measure of "zineness" is more about funding sources and intent, rather than just production values).

Either way, it's an interesting social phenomenon. People who have more exterior concerns have moved on, for one reason or another, and that's a bit sad, in a way. Others who still make zines are more concerned with the interior life, in self-expression, and are, perhaps rightly, not interested in or are cautious about having their navel-gazing reach a truly large audience, which the web and better print quality would potentially provide.

Mothers Mad About Crappy Juarez Films

The El Paso Times reports that the mothers of Juarez femicide victims are unhappy with the quality and/or fate of 2 recent Hollywood depictions of their situation, J-lo's "Bordertown" and Minnie Driver's "Virgin of Juarez". The latter went straight to DVD and the release date of the former still keeps getting pushed back again and again. Will anyone outside of booing Berlin audiences ever see it, I wonder? Will I ever even get the chance to hand out flyers at a theater that say "You've seen the inept and cheesy hollywood version, now read the facts..."?

The movie flop is the latest setback for the mothers-turned-activists and their Mexican and international supporters, whose global campaign to find justice in the face of endemic impunity is becoming a losing cause.

The 14-year statute of limitations is almost up for some of these killings (14 years? for murder? WTF?!)....

Resizing Over Truth

This video presentation about a new image manipulation technology called "seam carving" is really disturbing to me. changing real pictures of real places and people just so you can have a certain sized image?

The motivation or "problem" implied at the beginning of the video just goes to show, like I've noticed all my life so many times, how form always seems to get prioritized over content. that some designer wants a photo to dynamically resize so that their silly page layout always looks nice and is willing to sacrifice truth for it makes me shiver. and they're willing to let a computer decide what is important in an image!? yikes. What if it's important to me that the bear was that far away from her cubs? What if I want to know that I'm looking at what the landscape really looks like, not some artificially distorted fantasy?