Well, the March for Police Accountability went very well. There was no violence on either side, only 1 arrest and one ticket (both for being in the street at the wrong time, basically, which is fucked up, but at least there was no riot as a result of either one). Furthermore, the event turned into what they would call an escrache in Argentina - a loud, very visible demonstration located at the house of a public official who has power over a certain issue. I say this because the final destination of the march turned out to be the Mayor's house, in the yuppie NW neighborhood near 21st avenue. I think that tactic should be put to better and more frequent use in this country. Why protest just for the media and random passerby? Take it straight to where it matters. Best of all, apparently Mayor Katz was actually home, and she called 911 to try to get the people off her sidewalk...
My friend Brian shot
These excellent photos of the event.
I'm tentatively planning to be in New York for the Republican National Convention, or rather, for the protests of same. However, I've been procrastinating on buying plane tickets, mostly because of money, but also because it still seems far off, and I'm not sure what will happen there or how I can contribute. I mean, obviously I'm going to be shooting video, but I don't know what my plan is, what my angle is, as a videographer - as one of maybe hundreds of independant radical videographers that will be there. What can I do that will be different or unique, rather than just milling around in the crowd and shooting whatever everyone else shoots?
Anyway, hopefully I will get some brainwidth to really consider this and other plans for the RNC. I am encouraged by all these sites I just found out about:
I am given more food for thought about one of my favorite books of youth with a socialist look at The Lord of the Rings in Socialist Review by science fiction writer (and presumably socialist) China Melville. The review seems to be a couple of years old, since it also talks about the first installment in the Peter Jackson film trilogy (and Melville doesn't even mention that it is a trilogy, referring to the film simply as 'Lord of the Rings'). At any rate there are some interesting facts about Tolkien that are a bit surprising, and critiques of his writing that in some cases are very good points.
Here is a particularly good passage about the escapism of LOTR:
"Tolkien and his admirers (many of them leftists) gave his escapism an emancipatory gloss, claiming that jailers hate escapism. As the great anarchist fantasist Michael Moorcock has pointed out, this is precisely untrue. Jailers love escapism. What they hate is escape."
Ever since the films started coming out I've been telling myself I should read the books again. This is more reason, or maybe reason to NOT. I'm curious to know what my adult self will think of the book, and yet, it's an immense time investment. I read them 5 times before I was 20, but not once since.
And speaking of LOTR, I was directed to (thanx jason) a funny little flash movie about George W. Gollum. It's also a bit old, but still great. I was thinking about printing it to videotape and screening it at one of Portland Indymedia's video showings.
"Its ads may evoke rugged outdoorsmanship, but Levi hasn't promoted any particular life style to sell other products" - Naomi Klein, No Logo
Here's what the meme suggests you do:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 23.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
I just read a good paper called Fundamental Issues with Open Source Development. It's interesting but pretty familiar.
It's sad but every once in a while someone will write a paper like this that hits the nail on the head about why open source software isn't quite making it out there to normal people, and a lot of people, myself included, say, yeah, yeah, those are definitely problems. But, nothing really changes and then another paper saying the same thing comes out, 9 months later, or whatever. I guess hackers will be hackers. Or maybe hackers will be slackers. hah.
I just heard an amazing speech on the radio by
Zia Mian, a physicist at Princeton who studies nuclear proliferation and related topics. His talk was about The Project For A New American Century and U.S. imperialism. It was really really great. I just found a sort of abridged version of the talk.
He talks about the U.S. strategy for global hegemony, basically, and deconstructs the plans that the neoconservative intellectuals like Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle wrote up years ago. It's scary stuff, from his descriptions of their long term geopolitical strategy, to details of plans to build new nuclear weapons and use them, to the misconceptions of the american people Read more>>>
I'll join the numerous other blogs linking to this photomosaic of John Ashcroft, made from tiny photos of porn stars, courtesy of Hublog.
This is a fairly easy thing to do with software, now, but it's great to see the technique put to such great satiric purpose. A while back there was a really disgusting one of Bush made from pictures of assholes. That was conceptually great but hard to look at.
Now imagine if all the porn stars filed a class-action copyright infringement suit against the makers of the collage, and Ashcroft and the Justice Department had to prosecute it, and it got all the way to the Supreme Court.... (ah, to dream...)
Anyway, I wish there was a larger amount of clever appropriation for progressive, political ends. I'm sure it will be a growing area as we move closer to the election.
Has everybody seen FafBlog? I'm sure you all already read it every day and this is old news. boring, steev, you're thinking. Well, in case not, go look, it's hilariously great critical satire. It's sort of dadaesque humor and/but(?) there's some real insightful political barbs in there too.
Now that I'm back to a place where I can walk into a bookstore and actually be able to read the books there, it's all I can do to stop myself from buying a bunch. I'm a book junkie. Luckily, I can't afford to indulge in this vice right now, and I just keep reminding myself of the shelf of books that I've bought in the last couple of years and still haven't read. I just looked over there and yikes! - There's about 25 of them!
Anyway, I have a list of new ones I want to read. Read more>>>